Change is coming to U.S. agriculture, and farmers have to be ready


A current, number-laden bulletin posted on the University of Illinois web site farmdoc each day caught my consideration for 2 causes.

First, its information, drawn largely from the U.S. Census of Agriculture, paints a troubling image of U.S. agriculture right this moment. More importantly, that image suggests American ag coverage wants to make “strategic” adjustments to meet new challenges — local weather change and new international opponents are two — that U.S. farmers and ranchers will confront.

For instance, notes the report, the quantity of land farmed in U.S. farms peaked at 1.2 billion acres in 1950. In 2017, land farmed totaled 900 million acres, or “26% less.” The “largest decline in land use category (over that period) … was farm woodlots with a loss of 147 million acres.”

Interestingly, nonetheless, “Harvested cropland peaked in 1930 at 359 million acres, compared to 320 million acres in the 2017 census…”