Kentucky, Oklahoma and North Dakota ranked as the best states to start farms in 2021, according to a study by LawnStarter. At the other end of the spectrum Alaska, Maine and Connecticut were ranked as 50th, 49th, and 48th respectively as states that are relatively less enticing to start a farm or ranch.
LawnStarter compared all 50 states across 44 key metrics to rank the best states to start a farm or ranch. Measuring them based on available infrastructure, prevalence, environmental factors, cost, and potential returns of farming and ranching in each state.
Best States to Start a Farm in 2021
The U.S. agriculture industry forms a big part of the economy agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the US economy in 2019 covering 5.2 % of the nation’s income.
Other findings of the study include:
- Kentucky leads all states as it has plenty of fertile land, ranking high in prevalence categories such as farms per state area and the share of family-owned farms.
- Wyoming, Montana and Nevada lead the nation by having the largest average farm sizes, while New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts have the smallest average farm.
- Nine of the top 10 states that are great to start a farming business are either fully or partially located within the central Great Plains. States such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas boast cheap land, a good growing climate coupled with a highly developed infrastructure for farmers and rural residents.
- While the Deep South is known as an agricultural destination, many states, such as Louisiana and Alabama are ranked middle to low on the list. Both states fare well in
- When we go to the West, California performs surprisingly poorly in the study. While the No. 1 agricultural state when it comes to return on investment, the Golden State also ranks as the worst state for cost metrics, having the highest average per-farm production expenses of any state.
Unlike many states have competing metrics that cancel each other out: high populations and crop yields can lead to equally high land prices and less available land. Kentucky sits right in that middle as the best state for new farmers and ranchers.
However, the South falls short in terms of infrastructure and farm-friendliness. Louisiana ranks lower than any other state in the number of new farms in the last year, showing a marked decrease.
It may also prove more difficult to establish a small new ranch or farm in an already crowded corporate field. California ties with a few other states for the lowest share of family-owned farms. California may be an excellent place to grow food, but it’s far from the best state for your growing agribusiness.
There is Money to be Made in Farming
Investments in farms in recent years have been lucrative. The Department of Agriculture projecting net farm income in the US to have reached $134.1billion in 2020. With the steady rollout of innovations in recent years, modern farmers and ranchers have far greater opportunities to expand in their field.
States in the study that have the highest average farm income are California, Arizona, North Dakota, and Connecticut. While those that bring in on average less income are West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama.
Image: Depositphotos, Lawnstarter
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