Minnesota Farmer

Where has all the farmland gone

Today we have 922,095,840 acres of farmland in the United States. In 1978, that number was 1,014,777,234 – a decrease of 92,681,394 acres.  Nine percent of our nations farmland is gone.  Where did it go?  Most of it went to housing.images

When I travel to any city it is obvious to me that people do love to live outside the city.  Suburban housing developments around cities are converting some very good farmland to street after street of houses.  Nice flat fertile easy to farm land.  As of now that land has a greater value as housing than as farmland.  Despite losing 9% of some of our countries best farmland farmers have produced more food than ever before.

Farmers and agri-businesses are constantly improving crop yields so that more food and feed crops can be grown with the same, or even less inputs.  We now use less water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, fuel and labor to produce ever more and more food for the world than we did when I started farming 40 years ago.  Our farming methods have changed in ways that reduce erosion.  Although our machinery may be bigger we now use methods that do less damage to the soil.  Indeed farmers are conservation minded.images-1

Farmers are doing their best to protect the land.  Dirt is our most precious resource and we treat it well.


2 Comments so far
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The land use challenge posed by urban sprawl requires a new dialogue between cities and the surrounding hinterland. In Toronto a greenbelt has been established by government to impede urban growth into neighbouring farmland. The city’s future growth is to come from urban intensification. This means higher density within cities. Should have implications for the local grow movement.

Comment by lenrosen4

Without local farms there is no local food. I’ve been watching Detroit as it turns empty and abandoned lots into gardens.

Comment by Michael

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