New Jersey Leads in Farmland Loss
New Jersey lost a greater share of its agricultural land to development than any state – more than 25 percent in the 25 years between 1982 and 2007–according to an analysis by the American Farmland Trust of the National Resources Inventory conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Topping the list at 26.8 percent, New Jersey was followed by Rhode Island (22.5 percent), Massachusetts (18.1 percent), Delaware (14.3 percent) and New Hampshire (13.2 percent).
Another startling finding of the study is that more than one out of every three acres of developed land in the United States was developed from 1982 – 2007.
The National Resources Inventory is the only comprehensive source of data on land development that allows state-to-state comparisons. It documents natural resource conditions and trends based on samples of individual land segments. Research conducted by John Hasse, Rowan University and Rick Lathrop, Rutgers University, describes more detailed land use trends in New Jersey based on aerial photography, which New Jersey Future reported on last July.