Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mapping the Growth of the Soybean

In July Bloomberg explored how America uses its land. In Here's How America Uses its Land Bloomberg showed how more than a fifth of American land is given over to growing crops. They have now mapped how industrial scale factory farming has dramatically altered the types of crops grown on all that land.

In The Consolidation of the American Harvest Bloomberg maps America's massive shift from farmland diversity towards homogeneity. The article includes a series of maps which show the rise or fall of various crops. The maps use green upward arrows to show counties where the production of a visualized crop has grown. The size of the arrows reflect the scale of the rise in that crop. Conversely red downward arrows show where and how much a visualized crop has fallen in production.

Nearly all crops have fallen in production across the United States. Except for the soybean. This year the soybean became the most-planted agricultural product in the United States. Corn was the most-planted crop in the USA for the previous 35 years in a row. One reason for the rise of the soybean is that China has increased its importation of oilseed by more than 15,000 percent since 1995.

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