Why save farmland?
We need fertile farmland to grow the healthy food we all need to survive. Did you know:
- Farms and ranches support local economies and create jobs.
- Farm and ranch lands typically generate more revenue for local governments than they demand in services.
- Farmers manage nearly half of the land in the lower 48 states. Well-managed agricultural land provides food and cover for wildlife, helps control flooding, and absorbs and filters storm water. Well-managed farmland also traps carbon in the soil, benefitting the environment.
How much agricultural land in the U.S. has been lost to development?
More than 24 million acres of agricultural land – an area larger than the states of Indiana and Rhode Island combined – were developed between 1982 and 2010. This includes cropland, pastureland, rangeland, and land enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program. For more information on the 2010 National Resources Inventory, click here.
How much land in the U.S. is used for agriculture?
Our nation's 2,109,303 farms sit on 914,527,657 acres, accounting for 40.5 percent of our total land area. Farms can include cropland, permanent pasture and range land, woodland, plus land in farmsteads and buildings. For more information on the 2012 Census of Agriculture, click here.
What is prime farmland?
Prime farmland soils have the best physical and chemical properties for most kinds of agriculture, requiring less water, fertilizers and pesticides. They are the easiest soils to keep healthy, farm profitably, and grow the widest variety of crops with the least environmental impact. Prime farmland soils are the most resilient to extreme weather, such as drought and heavy rainfall. They are also at the most risk of being developed.
How can I protect my land for farming?
An agricultural conservation easement (ACE) is one of the most effective ways to protect land for farming.