Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 1999


Published in Great Plains Research 9: (Fall 1999). Copyright © 1999 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Loss of agricultural land to other land uses is an issue of growing concern in the United States. A number of studies in recent years have drawn attention to the extent of agricultural land loss and have stimulated considerable discussion about the impacts of changing land use patterns. The 1992 National Resources Inventory by the US Department of Agriculture indicated that conversion of agricultural and forest lands to non-agricultural uses is occurring at an average rate of at least 1.4 million acres per year.

Because conversion of farmland to other uses is practically irreversible, even over a fairly long timespan, Under the Blade suggests that citizens and policy makers in the United States must become more attuned to the magnitude and long-term impacts of the problem and should be pursuing policy changes that bring more deliberation and control to the process.