Monday, June 2, 2014

WORST. IDEA. EVER: Trading farmland for sprawl (American farmland decreasing fast)

Undernews: American farmland decreasing at rapid rate

American farmland decreasing at rapid rate

Rural Blog - The amount of U.S. farmland is decreasing at a rapid rate, "with the country losing three acres of farmland every minute," at a time when experts say more land will be needed to grow enough food to feed the world, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. The recently released Census of Agriculture reports that American farmland dropped from 987 million acres in 1982 to 914.5 million acres in 2012, and "The U.S. is losing farmland at a fairly rapid pace to strip malls, parking lots, highways and other forms of development."

Some say those numbers don't tell the whole story. Andrew McElwaine, president and CEO of American Farmland Trust, said the Census of Agriculture "doesn't track the changes in land use such as losses to development or highlight the crops most likely to be lost," saying that more than 90 percent of fruits and nearly 80 percent of vegetables "are grown on farmland under pressure from development." McElwaine told Agri-Pulse, "Since 1982, we've converted 24.1 million acres—an area the size of Indiana and Rhode Island combined."

Every state saw rural land developed from 2007 to 2010, regardless of statewide increases or decreases in farmland, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Agri-Pulse reports, "All 19 states with land-in-farms increases in the 2012 census also developed 'significant acres of rural land,' according to the AFT."Russ Shay, director of public policy at the Land Trust Alliance, told Agri-Pulse, "This is a crisis, but it's a quiet crisis. We lose farmland one farm at a time. We lose primarily smaller farms. People don't see it."