Last week, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) submitted an inventory of lost farmland report to the Legislative Council.  In 2023, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1557, which tasked ISDA to complete an inventory of lost farmland in Indiana from 2010-2022.

ISDA determined through the inventory of lost farmland that there has been an overall reduction of farmland acres of approximately 1.5-2% from 2010-2022. This represents a loss of approximately 350,000 acres. The results show that agricultural land was most likely to be lost in areas around the edges of cities and suburban areas. The primary cause of reduction in farmland was due to residential use.

“Agriculture is, and always has been, the lifeblood of the Hoosier state,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Data is critical for all levels of government when making decisions that may affect our rural communities and food security.”

ISDA used two sources of data – (1) parcel data from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance(DLGF) and (2) the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Data Layer (CDL). Both datasets have different qualities that make them desirable for attempting to discern both the quantity of land use change and the causes of land use change.

“The inventory of lost farmland was an opportunity for ISDA and legislators to gain access to reliable data, where up until now, we could only make assumptions,” said Don Lamb, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “This information is important to have for policy development as we work to balance economic growth, food security and the preservation of agricultural land, because we know when agriculture is strong, Indiana is too.”

Despite the loss in acreage, yield data from USDA NASS shows that Indiana’s production of its cash crops has increased. In 2012, Indiana produced over 597 million bushels of corn for grain, and in 2022 yielded over 1 billion bushels. Indiana produced nearly 219 million bushels of soybeans in 2012 and saw that number increase to over 326 million in 2022.

ISDA outlined several recommendations within the report to the Legislative Council, including that legislation be passed directing ISDA to update the inventory of lost farmland every five years, starting in 2029 for a report to be published in 2030.

To view the full 2010 to 2022 report or narrative, click here or visit isda.in.gov.