You ever have those facts wedged in your mind so deep that you feel that it is the bottom of your foot truth? That full contact, no holds barred, yes I know this? It happens to most of us. And recently me. A few days ago I wrote about the strata of agricultural land use with a bit of this nonsense:
For context, about 425 million acres is total farmland in the US, with three quarters going to direct croppage and the last quarter to livestock and dairy.
Boy was I wrong. I had always assumed only a small enclave of land was designated to agricultural use,
American lands devoted to agriculture are a staggering 900+ million. Two fifths. About 40%. And very much in the heart of the country.
Now, this includes all kinds of farming, timber, hay and silage, corn, cotton, wheat, etc. Per the USDA:
Of the 915 million acres of land in farms in 2012, 45.4 percent was permanent pasture, 42.6 percent was cropland, and 8.4 percent was woodland. The remaining 3.6 percent was land in farmsteads, buildings, livestock facilities, etc.
Cropland, pasture, poultry, trees, bees, and pigs, the extent of our 2.02 million farms, of which most are family enterprises, dot the landscape of this country, only comprise 1% of the population, and account for sustenance that we largely take for granted. The actual share of land and stewards, as has been stated many, many times is in decline, both between 4+% of farmers hanging it up and almost 1% decline in land farmed. Only recently have people wanted to come back to the land, and with outfits such as Farmshare Austin, have had great success in training folks to farm, their statistics are good, and serve as inspiration for the future. Farming isn’t for everyone. Educating where food, social energy, is produced, and the how, is for everyone. The reality is much larger than any of us might think, even to those of us in the middle of it.