“We expected to see an increase in the erosion, but our numbers told a different story,” says Dr. Patrick Flanagan, national statistician for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The agency’s latestNational Resources Inventory(NRI) summary report features data on how U.S. non-federal rural lands are being used. Data come from 800,000 sample locations across the country. NRI data also show that between 2007 and 2010:
  • Fruit, nut and flower production acreage surged from 124,800 to almost 273,800.
  • Cropland acres increased by 2 million acres, this following a steady decline over the previous 25 years.
  • Pastureland increased by 847,000 acres.
  • Developed land increased by 2 percent from 111.1 million to 113.3 million acres.
  • Palustrine wetlands slightly increased. These include swamps or marshes and estuarine wetlands.
  • Acres enrolled in NRCS programs grew from about 17 million acres in 2007 to about 40 million in 2010.
“The NRI summary report is the only report of its kind and is one of our most comprehensive tools to understanding what’s actually happening on the country’s landscape,” says NRCS Chief Jason Weller. 

—From USDA news release