For years, many Americans have watched as farms and ranches in their communities have been transformed into new housing developments, shopping centers, and soccer fields.
We've seen the stories in the news.
We've heard from concerned farmers and citizens across the nation who told us they saw farmland seemingly vanish in front of their eyes. There's been a lot of anecdotal evidence.
But now, with the release of "Farms Under Threat: The State of America's Farmland," we have proof. Hard evidence that America's farmland is disappearing.
Our analysis, the most comprehensive ever undertaken of America's agricultural lands, shows that nearly twice the area of farmland was lost than was previously known. Additional major findings, include:
- Between 1992 and 2012, we lost nearly 31 million acres of land. That's 175 acres an hour, or 3 acres every single minute
- 11 million of those acres were among the best farmland in the nation—classified as the most productive, most versatile and most resilient land
- Development disproportionately occurred on agricultural lands, with 62 percent of all development occurring on farmland
- Expanding urban areas accounted for 59 percent of the loss. Low-density residential development, or the building of houses on one- to 20-acre parcels, accounted for 41 percent