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Decline in farmland worrying farmers, agricultural organizations

The steep decline in U.S. farmland is raising an alarm among farmers and agricultural organizations.

According to the 2022 U.S. Census of Agriculture (the most recent), the country has lost 20.1 million acres of farmland since the 2017 census. That’s three times all the farmland acreage in Virginia, and an area about the size of Maine.

Virginia has lost nearly 500,000 acres of farmland in the last five years.

“Just stop and think about that for a minute,” said Wayne Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “That’s a lot of land to take out of production in a short period of time.”

Farmland is vital for global food security, local food systems, wildlife habitats and environmental efforts like sequestering carbon in soil and protecting water quality. According to the American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat report, farmland loss is attributed to increasing commercial, industrial and residential development, particularly from urban and suburban creep surroundi...

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