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Study: Crop Diversity Has Declined in US

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US Census of Agriculture

A new study indicates that the diversity of crops grown by American farmers since 1978 has declined, reports The Rural Blog. The study was performed at the county level. It discovered that the lowest crop diversity was found in the upper Midwest states. States in the West and South fared better.

Areas with high crop diversity tend to be more resistant to disease, pest, and crop failure. But there is room for swift positive change. Unlike natural ecosystems, croplands are replanted yearly. Thus, they can recover from stagnation more quickly.

Croplands comprise about 22 percent of the lower 48 states. Therefore, changes in crop diversity could have a substantial impact on surrounding natural and urban areas. 

The study was performed by researchers at Kansas State University, North Dakota State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.