State of America's Farmland

Almost 20 years ago, American Farmland Trust released the groundbreaking report, Farming on the Edge, which vividly demonstrated how sprawling development is consuming America's highest quality farmland in critical regions of the country.

The study and accompanying maps showed that we are losing vital agricultural places — from the fertile Rio Grande Valley of Texas to the bucolic Hudson Valley of New York.

With its 1997 release and 2002 update, Farming on the Edge woke people up to the fact that poorly planned development and urban sprawl were destroying our nation's best and most productive farmland.

The time is long overdue for another national wake-up call.

AFT now begins our most ambitious mapping project to date: The State of America's Farmland. When complete, it will be the most comprehensive national snapshot of farm and ranch land loss and conservation ever created.

The State of America's Farmland will:

  • Graphically illustrate the threats to America's farms and ranches in every state
  • Show how much farm and ranch land we have lost in past decades and project future losses due to development and a changing climate
  • Highlight the places making the most progress in securing a future for farming and call attention to the areas in greatest need of action
  • Advance the cause of America's family farmers and farmland — and increase conservation efforts for soil, water and wildlife
  • Show what works to protect farm and ranch land — and challenge states and communities to act
“The challenge is to keep educating people on the importance of open space and farmland. AFT has been so helpful at that. Once the land is gone, it’s gone forever. There’s no going back.” — Henry Ogilby, 7th generation family farmer, Belmont, Mass.

State of America's Farmland includes five major components:

  • Maps of the most threatened agricultural lands—on an interactive web site.
  • An analysis of the impacts of farm and ranch land loss, as well as the policies and programs to address it.
  • A Farms for the Future Scorecard ranking each state on policies and programs and recommending strategies for improvement.
  • A national, multi-media communications campaign to elevate the issue and advance farm and ranch land conservation.
  • Advocacy work to build coalitions to strengthen policies and programs essential to conserving farm and ranch land.