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States With The Most Farmland As Percent Of State

With more than 330 million American mouths to feed and about $136.7 billion worth of agricultural exports, American farms need plenty of land to grow and produce crops. Thanks to widespread mechanization, American farms are some of the most productive on earth, fetching high yields of the top five crops: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton, and cattle. Livestock plays a vital role, with 2 million American farms raising billions of cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens.

America’s shift to high-yield, mechanized farming—which kicked into hyper-drive during World War II when the country needed vast quantities of fats, oils, and meals for herself and her allies—forever changed the makeup of American agriculture. Family farms folded in the face of massive factory farms: In 1870, over 50% of the population was employed in agriculture, a number that has since dwindled to 1.3% in 2019. Historically intensive land use depleted topsoil, spread non-native weeds, and aided deforestation, which led to federal legislation protecting wildlands and subsidizing efficient agricultural practices.

The U.S. in 2019 had 2.02 million farm households, but which American regions have the most acreage devoted to farming? Stacker analyzed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Major Land Uses (MLU) survey, then ranked each state and the District of Columbia based on the number of acres each has dedicated to farmland. For further context, each slide also provides total cropland acreage, cropland used for crops, idle cropland, and cropland used for pasture. Top crops are from USDA state agriculture overviews as of March 8, 2021.

The 2012 MLU data is the latest available from the series, which has been published since 1945—Alaska and Hawaii were added in 1959 when they became states. The USDA reports that the Major Land Uses series is the “longest-running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States.”

Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, a count of the country’s farmers and ranchers that happens every 5 years, is also featured. Read on to discover where the ingredients for your family’s next meal may have been grown or raised.

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4 comentarii

09 iun. 2022

I can't find the answer to your question on any of the links.....

13 iun. 2022
Răspunde utilizatorului

I butchered this post! I meant to include a sentence saying to ignore the number by the name of the state. If I recall correctly, that number reflected the ranking by total agricultural acres. I was more interested in the percentage of acreage that is farmland. So much easier to post when I am not sitting in my driver’s seat!!

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