Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shrinking Farmland

As more of our agriculture moves overseas and houses fill in once-cultivated farm land, third world incomes rise (a good thing) and California gets more people which, depending on one’s perspective, is also a good thing.

3/29/2007 6:00:00 AM
California's farm numbers, farmland shrink
Bob Krauter
Capital Press California Editor

SACRAMENTO - The number of California farms and farm acreage continue to decline, according to USDA data released this week. The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates that 76,000 farms operated in the Golden State in 2006 on 26.3 million acres. Both numbers were down 1 percent from 2005.

USDA reported that the acreage California farm is 346 acres, compared to the national average of 446 acres in 2006.

California's farm numbers dipped below 80,000 starting in 2002. The high mark for farm numbers was back in 1950 when there were 144,000 farms in the state on 37.5 million acres.

Nationally, USDA estimates that in 2006, there are 2 million farms, a slight decline from 2005. Total land in farms was 932 million acres last year, declined by 780,000 acres, a drop of nearly 1 percent from 2005.