16 million acres and counting…

July 15, 2016

Since the introduction of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005,  the number of acres committed to growing corn and soy beans in the United States has grown by 16,838,000– an astounding figure that points to the RFS as a driving force in the radical transformation of the American agricultural landscape.

Our latest data visualization shows the increase in corn and soybean plantings in the United States from 2005-2015, using 2005 as a baseline. 

For many states, the increase in corn and soy crops has played a significant role in their transition toward a harmful monocrop culture. Without action from Congress, we fear that the RFS may undermine the diversity of our agricultural landscape.


Methodology:  Data is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service’s Agricultural Baseline Database. To ensure consistency across states, data on “Acres Planted” for field crops in each state was used. Corn and soybeans were assessed together as they are frequently grown as rotational crops year-over-year, and both crops are used in the production of biofuels. To determine the impact of corn and soy on other field crops, USDA data on “Total Field Crops” was used as a measure of overall crop plantings. Data from the years 2000 through 2015 was examined. This time period includes several years’ worth of data prior to meaningful implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and 2007.


Click here to download the USDA data used for this research.