Farms Under Threat is American Farmland Trust’s multi-year initiative to complete the most comprehensive assessment of the loss of U.S. farmland and ranchland ever undertaken, both past and future. AFT’s goal is to document the threats and offer policy solutions to ensure the long-term protection and conservation of agricultural land in the United States to sustain an expanding population and protect biodiversity.
On this page you will find information about Farms Under Threats: The State of the States and Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future.
Farms Under Threat: The State of the States
All estimates represent figures for the Conterminous U.S.
Total and Agricultural Land Cover/Use
|Total land area in 2016||1,926,832,400|
|Agricultural land in 2016||941,206,400|
|Cropland in 2016||365,406,300|
|Pastureland in 2016||116,945,100|
|Rangeland in 2016||398,645,300|
|Woodland in 2016||60,209,600|
|Agricultural land in 2001||942,820,300|
High-quality Agricultural Land
|Nationally Significant agricultural land in 2016||357,549,600|
|Nationally Significant agricultural land in 2001||358,388,500|
|States’ best agricultural land in 2016||474,401,200|
|States’ best agricultural land in 2001||476,206,300|
Nationally Significant agricultural land is the land best-suited to long-term, intensive crop production within the Conterminous United States; and each state’s “best land” is approximately the better half of all agricultural land in each state. These two categories overlap and the same land may be included in both.
For more information about high-quality agricultural land and how they were identified, see the interactive website for Farms Under Threat: The State of the States, and the fact sheet about AFT’s Productivity, Versatility, and Resiliency (PVR) Analysis.
Agricultural Land Converted from 2001 – 2016
|Agricultural land developed or compromised||10,932,500|
|Agricultural land converted to urban and highly-developed land use (UHD)||4,139,600|
|Agricultural land converted to low-density residential land use (LDR)||6,792,800|
|Nationally Significant agricultural land developed or compromised||4,400,000|
|Nationally Significant agricultural land converted to UHD||1,575,600|
|Nationally Significant agricultural land converted to LDR||2,824,400|
|States’ best agricultural land developed or compromised||5,392,600|
|States’ best agricultural land converted to UHD||2,113,700|
|States’ best agricultural land converted to LDR||3,278,900|
- Read the full report Farms Under Threat: The State of the States
- Explore our maps, policy scorecard, and background data from on our interactive website.
Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future
American Farmland Trust worked in partnership with Conservation Science Partners and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to project how development and climate change will affect agricultural land under several different future scenarios. We mapped three contrasting development scenarios from 2016 to 2040, representing broad policy pathways that the country might take. The report and the accompanying web mapping tool are designed to help Americans explore alternatives in development choices.
- Read the full report Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future
- Explore the Web Mapping Tool and State Summaries
- Explore the Storymap