On Wednesday, the American Farmland Trust released a new report that looked at the number of acres of farmland that were removed from production between 2001-2016. The Farms Under Threat report shows 11 million acres of farmland was removed in that 15 year window. That comes out to roughly 2,000 acres per day nationwide. As far as acres pulled from production in the Northwest, over 90,000 acres were removed in Washington, over 65,000 in Oregon, and more than 68,000 acres were lost in Idaho.
Addie Candib, Pacific Northwest Regional Director at AFT, said while these figures represent a small percentage of farmland in each respective state, the land lost is a big hit to the Ag industry.
“That development has threatened our most productive farmland, and one of the things that we know, in Washington in particular, that 31% of the land lost was considered nationally significant farmland, or land that is really best suited for growing food for human consumption”
Candib added while over 155,000 acres of farmland was loss during the survey, she noted Washington and Oregon have a comparatively low amount of farmland converted, and policy response is keeping pace with that loss.
“While states like Washington and Oregon are doing a fantastic job with their land use planning programs, there is a lot more that we can be doing to support the viability of agriculture and especially support that transition of farmland to the next generation of farmers and ranchers.”
Candib said some of the largest numbers of acres reported occurred in the Southeast as well as Texas.
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