AFT Has Led Research Into the Loss of America’s Farms and Ranches Since 1986

For many years, AFT has maintained unique data on America’s farm and ranch land. Over two decades ago, AFT released our first big mapping study, Farming on the Edge. It proved catalytic, spurring new investment in farmland protection. The data in Farming on the Edge helped AFT identify areas where some of our higher quality farmland was in the path of development, providing an early warning to land-use planners.

In 2018, AFT released the first report from our Farms Under Threat initiative, the most comprehensive analysis of America’s farmland ever done. Farms Under Threat picks up where our groundbreaking report Farming on the Edge left off. Farms Under Threat harnesses the latest national datasets to provide information on where and what type of development threatens our farmland and quantifies what we have already lost, particularly in terms of the farmland most suited for long-term food production. It also adds significantly to the agricultural land inventory by mapping woodlands associated with farm enterprises and federal lands used for livestock grazing. Now, Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future has projected future threats under alternative future scenarios of development.

AFT started mapping in 1986 and so far has mapped farmland conversion seven times as national datasets have improved.