Most Productive U.S. Farmland Disappearing at Fastest Rate, Report Says

More than an acre of farmland is lost per minute in the United States, with about 1 million acres being developed annually, according to a new federal report. From 1982 to 2007, more than 23 million acres of agricultural land were converted to developed land, with each state losing significant areas of farmland, according to the survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. States losing the most acreage during that time include Texas (2.8 million acres), California (1.7 million acres) and Florida (1.5 million acres); states that converted the highest percentage of farmland in the 25-year period include New Jersey, which lost 27 percent of its farmland from 1982 to 2007, and Rhode Island, which lost 22 percent, according to the survey. Farmland located on the fringes of urban centers — as defined by size and proximity to larger economies — faces the greatest threat of loss, despite the fact that those acres produce by far the greatest percentage of the food consumed by Americans annually, including 91 percent of the fruit and 78 percent of the vegetables.