Spooky Facts About Agriculture And Land Loss

In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve compiled several scary facts about ranch and farmland loss in the United States. All facts are courtesy of the American Farmland Trust and the Land Trust Alliance unless otherwise noted! Proceed at your own risk… 

First, watch this video: https://vimeo.com/128288736 . Scared yet?! 

Since 1982 the U.S. has developed more than 24 million acres of agricultural land – a large portion of these acres were once productive and vital to our food production. 

In the U.S., 40+ acres of farm and ranch land are lost every HOUR to sprawl and development.  By the time you finish reading this blog, nearly 5 acres of farmland will be gone. 

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. 

1.7 billion tons of topsoil vanish to erosion each year in the US – that’s enough to fill 1,200 Empire State Buildings. 

The U.S. population is projected to grow by 100 million people by 2050, nearly tripling the amount of land utilized for housing, roads, and shopping malls. 

According to the Denver Post, between 2014 and 2015, Colorado added 100,986 people to its population.  

Nearly 2,000 people moved to Colorado each week. 

PC: Allen Birnbach

Providing food and fiber for the country is a job that very few people actually do. Only 1% of working Americans claim farming and ranching as their primary occupation. 

57% of America’s farmers and ranchers are 55 or older and are likely to retire in the next two decades. 

We don’t want these facts and figures to haunt you, but we do hope that the ghosts of our past will guide us towards building a generation of people who care about their food, their open spaces, healthy places, and the shared heritage we all have. 

With every trick, there should be a treat…so here is the good news: 

There are more than 1,100 accredited land trusts in the U.S. working to slow these processes and conserve all types of valuable landscapes. This number doesn’t include the countless other conservation organizations working to conserve our nation’s most valuable natural resources. 

In Colorado alone, there are 25 accredited land trusts operating in the state, many of which work primarily to conserve ranch and farm land. 

CCALT has the unbelievable opportunity to work day in and day out with many men and women who produce our food. We are lucky to call each of these producers our partners. 

CCALT has conserved 868 miles of mapped streams and nearly 34,000 acres of irrigated lands, and worked with hundreds of families who believe deeply in a future with agriculture. 


*All photos provided by Allen Birnbach, Jen Livsey, Maggie Hanna, Megan Knott, and CCALT ranching families.