Soil erosion on cropland has declined by more than 40% during the past 25 years. More than one-third of all development of U.S. land occurred during the same period. This information is contained in the latest National Resource Inventory for Non-Federal Lands, which was released at an event marking the 75th Anniversary of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. NRCS is charged with ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges.
In releasing the survey information, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said the NRI results are significant because they provide a scientifically-based snapshot of the nation's natural resources and the ability to track trends in natural resource use and condition.
Key findings show that total cropland erosion declined by about 43%. As of 2007, cropland acreage totaled 357 million, a 15% decrease over the period. Still, about 40 million acres of land were newly developed, bringing the national total to about 111 million acres. The report found: the total area of developed land in all states, except Alaska and Hawaii, is approximately equal to the combined surface area of Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.