Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changes in crops acres since freedom to farm

Date:
April 12, 2010
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
The 1996 US Farm Bill eliminated many acreage restrictions, thereby allowing farmers to plant what they believe to be their most competitive crops. A study conducted by agricultural economists evaluated subsequent acreage changes across crops to better understand which crops have been most profitable during a period when farm legislation contains few acreage constraints.

U.S. Corn and Soybean Acre Changes: 1990-1994 to 2005-2009.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The 1996 U.S. Farm Bill eliminated many acreage restrictions, thereby allowing farmers to plant what they believe to be their most competitive crops. A study conducted by University of Illinois agricultural economists evaluated subsequent acreage changes across crops to better understand which crops have been most profitable during a period when farm legislation contains few acreage constraints.

"Since the passing of the Freedom to Farm Act, soybean and corn acreages have increased significantly," said U of I agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey. "Crops losing acres include wheat, barley, grain sorghum, corn silage, cotton, peanuts, dry edible beans, and potatoes."

To evaluate acreage changes, data detailing annually harvested crop acres in the United States was obtained from the National Agricultural Statistical Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Data was collected for all crops with over 1 million acres harvested in 2008. There were 13 crops identified, including soybeans, corn for grain, hay, rice, wheat, barley, grain sorghum, corn for silage, cotton, peanuts, dry edible beans, potatoes, and sugar beets.

For the study, harvested crop acres were averaged for 1990 through 1994, the years preceding the Freedom to Farm Act, and for 2005 through 2009, following the passing of the legislation.

"From the early 1990s to the late 2000s, soybeans were identified as the crop with the largest acreage increase," Schnitkey said.

Soybeans averaged 58.2 million acres harvested per year from 1990 to 1994, increasing to an average of 72.2 million acres from 2005 to 2009. This 14.0 million acre increase represents a 24 percent expansion in soybean acres.

"Corn also had a sizable increase of 9.4 million acres, or a 14 percent expansion in corn acres," he said.

Soybean and corn acreage growth was concentrated in the Great Plains and the greater Corn Belt. North Dakota had the greatest combined acreage change with a 4.2 million acre increase in its soybean and corn acres. U.S. states with a 2 million acre or greater increase in soybean and corn acreage include Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. States with a 1 to 2 million acre increase include Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. States with between a 0.4 and 1 million acre increase include Michigan and Ohio.

According to Schnitkey, two of the 13 crops have kept relatively stable in their acreage. These include hay, averaging about 60 million acres, and rice, averaging about 3 million acres. The remaining nine crops had sizable acreage reductions.

"Wheat had the largest reduction in acreage following the passing of the Freedom to Farm Act, dropping from 62.8 million to 50.7 million acres," Schnitkey said. "This 12.1 million acre decrease represents a 19 percent decline in wheat harvested.

Other crops losing 1 million acres or more are barley with minus 4.0 million acres, grain sorghum with minus 3.7 million acres, corn for silage with minus 3.7 million acres, and cotton with minus 1.9 million acres.

"For states with large soybean and corn acreage increases, the crops losing acres did not balance out these gains," Schnitkey said. "In Illinois, for example, acreage changes in the 13 crops resulted in a positive 0.3 million acres. This means that 0.3 million acres came from some other source, most likely pasture acres.

"A number of reasons could be given for the large gains in U.S. soybean and corn acres. On the supply side, these crops have had larger yield increases and a greater number of biotechnology varieties and hybrids offered than other crops. On the demand side, new uses for soybeans and corn account for some of the acreage changes, with biofuels being a major new use of corn."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The original article was written by LeAnn Ormsby. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Changes in crops acres since freedom to farm." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412121020.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2010, April 12). Changes in crops acres since freedom to farm. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412121020.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Changes in crops acres since freedom to farm." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412121020.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins