Farmers and ranchers used to make up a significant part of the U.S. population. That was before urban areas had a huge surge in residents. To be exact, in 1900, about 40% of Americans lived on farms and ranches. That number has dropped to about 2%, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Since the figure is so small and shrinking, the number of people who want to start a farm or ranch must be very low. However, one company has gone about the work of identifying the best states to start a farm or ranch.
LawnStarter has just released its 2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch study. It covers all 50 states. The rankings are based on 42 measures, including farmland area per state on a percentage basis, the increase in the number of farms in the past year, water and air quality, a natural hazards index and property taxes. Among the sources listed are AcreTrader, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Transportation Research Nonprofit (TRIP), Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Rural Health Information Hub, Tax Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WhistleOut and World Population Review.
Based on the rating scale, state scores ran from 36.13 to 59.72. The state with that highest rating was Montana. According to the study:
Although ranching is woven into the state’s cultural fabric, farming also contributes significantly to the state’s economy. Montana is a top supplier of beef, and it leads the nation’s production of organic certified wheat, dry peas, lentils, flax, and honey.
Kansas followed with a score of 58.78, then North Dakota (57.35), Texas (57.42) and Oklahoma (57.04). The state at the bottom of the list is Alaska.