USDA Reports Shifts in Land Use
A report from USDA’s Agriculture Economic Research Service confirms that from 1945 to 2007 the amount of cropland decreased in the United States. Cynthia Nickerson says the reasons vary by region. In some regions of the country where you have significant pressures to provide land for housing, you’ll see declines in crop land. In other regions of the country it could be for other competing demands for land. The study also showed that the nation’s cropland is becoming more concentrated in an area comprised of Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois.
Nickerson says – in 2007 we estimated about twenty five percent of total cropland is located in these five states, up from twenty one percent in 1964. On the other hand in the northeast and the southeast we’ve seen a long-term decline in cropland uses, and that’s due primarily to urban pressures and because relative to other regions these regions don’t have as favorable conditions for growing crops or marketing them.
In terms of land mass our nation is still very rural. Nickerson reports – the land in urban areas plus this rural residential land outside of urban areas still represents a very small portion of the total U.S. land base, about seven percent.