By the Numbers: The State of America’s Farmland

Last week the American Farmland Trust released a new report titled Farms Under Threat:  The State of America’s Farmland. Based on the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of America’s agricultural lands, the report found that nearly twice the area of farmland was lost than was previously known. A second report will analyze state level data on past farmland conversion and the effectiveness of state level farmland protection policies.


The percentage of U.S. counties that are farm dependent.


Percentage of the total land area in the continental United States that is suited for the intensive production of fruit and nut trees, vegetables, staple foods, grains and animal feed.


The percentage of urban development between 1992 and 2012 that was on former cropland.


The percentage of land in the United States that is used by farmers and ranchers, including federal land used to graze livestock. That amounts to more than one billion acres.


The percentage of farm acres lost to expanding urban areas.

175 acres

The number of acres of farmland lost every hour between 1992 and 2012.

11 million

The amount of lost farm acres between 1992 and 2012 that was considered the best farmland in the country.

13 million

The number of acres of farmland irretrievably lost between 1992 and 2012 to low-density residential development.

31 million

The number of acres of farmland irretrievably lost between 1992 and 2012. That is equivalent to the land mass of the state of New York.

912 million

The number acres of non-federal agricultural land in the U.S., including cropland, pastureland, rangeland and woodland associated with farms.

$992 billion

The amount agriculture, food and related industries contribute to the U.S. gross domestic product (or 5.5 percent).


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