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Farm Acres Drop In 2015

farm_tractor_matthias_ripp_flickr.jpg
Matthias Ripp, flickr Creative Commons
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The number of acres farmers used to grow crops plummeted in 2015. It was the biggest year to year drop in almost three decades.

Farmers throughout the country’s Midwestern corn and wheat belt had to contend with an extremely wet planting season in 2015. And U.S. Department of Agriculture statistician Lance Honig says with depressed crop prices, it was a tough year for some growers.

“More production is always better than less production from an economic health perspective if you’re a producer," Honig says.

The acreage drop is another marker that recent high times on the farm are likely over.

Massive surpluses of corn and soybeans caused prices to drop. The prospect of a global downturn has slowed exports. That means farmers don’t have the incentive to plant all of their fields.

As KUNC’s reporter covering the Colorado River Basin, I dig into stories that show how water issues can both unite and divide communities throughout the Western U.S. I produce feature stories for KUNC and a network of public media stations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada.