Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lost farm and ranch land

We are going to need to feed 10 billion people with less land.

Texas and Montana Lost 3.7 Million Acres of “Land in Farms” Last Year
K. McDonald, Big Picture Agriculture, 26 February 2013 (hat tip: Early Warning)
In 2012, 3 million fewer acres were farmed, to total 914 million acres. That net number is a result of losses of 4.1 million acres in some states and gains of 1.1 million acres in other states. The states which gained farmland acres were Georgia, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia...
There are 2.2 million farms in the U.S. The USDA’s definition of a farm is “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year”.
The total number of farms decreased by 11,630 last year and the average farm size increased by 1 acre, to 421 acres...
Farms with cattle operations decreased by 1 percent in 2012, and those with milk cows decreased 3 percent. Hog, sheep, and goat operations all decreased by 1 percent.
Texas led the losses in state acreage farmed at a whopping 2 million acres lost, due to their drought conditions and cattle ranching. Montana was next with a loss of 1.7 million acres, also attributed to cattle ranching.

Note that water, because most processes need so much of it, is one of the more difficult items to transport unless you have gravity on your side.  You occasionally see the post apocalyptic story where people are paying as much for water as for gasoline.  It just isn't going to happen.  You just need too much of the stuff to make that work.  If the Southwest were to become a New Sahara, people would simply move somewhere else.  If borders started to intervene, than there might be some fighting.

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