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What Four Crops Make Up 88 Percent of U.S. Farming?

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Touch the Soil News #740

Of the 910 million acres in U.S. cropland, 590 million is in pasture for livestock. The remaining acreage (320 million acres) is what is termed as primary cropland – the land that everything is grown on.

Each year at this time (June 30th), the USDA puts out is annual planting report – a listing of how many acres farmers planted of the major crops. For 2017, farmers planted 318.2 million on the nation’s primary cropland. Last year, that acreage was 319.2 million or 1 million acres more.

Little known is that 88 percent of all the cropland – 279.6 million acres – is planted into just four crops. Can you guess what these four crops are?

It’s not the fresh fruits and vegetables that occupy our refrigerator. Even major crops like potatoes only take up 3/10ths of a percent of primary cropland. Dry beans only take up 6/10ths of a percent. The large acreage of cotton only takes up only 3.8 percent of the primary cropland.

The four primary crops are #4 wheat – 45.7 million acres. #3 Hay – 53.5 million acres. #2 Soybeans – 89.5 million acres. #1 Corn – 90.9 million acres.

Food experts are concerned that our health is impacted by such a large percentage of our diets originating from such a narrow source of nutrition.

The scope of farming for these four crops is what drove the birth of GMO crops that were impervious to chemical weed killers. The following video of 2017 corn planting is a testament to mono-cropping. For 2017, corn acreage will monopolize around 29 percent of the nation’s primary cropland. It is hard to conceive when thinking about one’s home food garden.

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