There might be more but the top 5 biggest agricultural sales are, surprisingly, located in California. Also since the mid west has vast amount of land their dollar per acre is less then $0.04. While on the east coast it’s around $0.12 – $0.24, on the west coast it’s between $0.04 – $0.06. This means that the mid west has high supply of land but low demand, driving the costs down, meanwhile vice versa on the coasts.
Keep in mind that California alone has a population comparable to the entire midwest and is MUCH larger than any of the twelve states* considered to fall within that geographic region.
Using numbers from the USDAs 2007 agricultural census: The states of the west coast have 56.7 million acres of land devoted to agriculture. The states of the midwest 342.6 million acres. (almost exactly six times as much agricultural land).
I didn’t want to add up all the states that border on the atlantic but if you’re interested you can for yourself. Click on the first citation I’ve included. Select the individual state you’re interested in and then click statewide summary to bring up a lot of statistical information, including the number of acres in the state devoted to agriculture.
A few additional notes: California, Texas, and Florida now dominate America’s supply of produce (fruits and vegetables). This is important to know for two reasons. 1. The lettuce (or tomatoes or grapes or oranges) produced from an acre will sell for a lot more than the corn or soybeans that could be produced from the same acre**. A big part of the reason they sell for so much more is raising produce requires a lot more human labor per acre, although the chemical inputs aren’t cheap either. Regardless, California, Texas and Florida earn a lot per acre of agricultural land, because they also SPEND a lot per acre.
The other point I wanted to make is that whatever the number of acres you end up calculating for the east coast will be an underestimate of the number of available agricultural acres. I’ve spent some time in New York (the state not the city) and you’re constantly driving by old abandoned farms.
*According to the US Census: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
**On the other hand an acre of corn can provide for the caloric needs of a lot more people than an acre of tomatoes or other fresh produce.
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