• Working Land Loss
    More than 54 percent of total land conversion occurred in the state’s 25 fastest growing counties. During this period (1997-2012), approximately 590,000 acres were lost from the agricultural land base in these counties.
  • Population Growth
    From 1997 to 2012, the Texas population increased from 19 million to 26 million residents, an increase of 36 percent or approximately 500,000 new residents annually. The majority (87 percent) of the population increase occurred within the state’s top 25 highest growth counties.
  • Land Fragmentation
    Average ownership size declined from 581 acres in 1997 to 521 acres in 2012. By the end of 2012, the USDA Census of Agriculture accounted for nearly 249,000 farming and ranching operations in the state, representing a 9 percent increase since the 1997 census.

A Changing Texas

Texas working lands are undergoing a fundamental change, one that has implications for rural economies, national and food security, and conservation of water and other natural resources. Native landscapes are increasingly threatened by suburbanization, rural development and land fragmentation driven by rapid population growth.

Texas Land Facts

From 1997 to 2012

Texas population increase 36%

Total population increase in top 25 fastest growing counties 87%

Total land conversion from top 25 fastest growing counties 54%

Increase in farming and ranching operations 9%

What Does This Mean?

Population

The state’s increasing population, particularly within or in surrounding urban centers, continues to have significant influence on the continued loss of working lands, changing ownership sizes, and land values.

Land Conversion

Like more traditional home real estate values, rural land values vary by location, land use, property size, and other characteristics. Changes in land value were closely tied to distance from major metropolitan growth areas. The average land value, for example, within the top 25 fastest growing counties was $5,266 per acre in 2012, compared to the state-wide average of $1,573 per acre.

Farming and Ranching Operations

The shift in ownership size or loss of larger ownerships through fragmentation may have potential implications for profitability and continued stability of working lands.

Saving the water and the soil must start where the first rain drop falls.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Former President & Native Texan

Recent News

14 Oct
Texas Sees Significant Decline in Rural Land

In Texas, where more than 95 percent of land is privately owned, there are unique challenges for the conservation of open space lands. Read more

02 Oct
Texas Lost Over 1 Million Acres Of Farm and Ranch Land In 15 Years

Land conversion can mean more than a loss of grazing space and pretty views. Read more

01 Oct
Texas A&M reports new information about land conversion in Texas

Privately owned farms, ranches and forests account for 83 percent of the land in Texas and are increasingly threatened by suburbanization. Read more

01 Oct
Texas A&M institute reports new information about land conversion losses in Texas

Texas Land Trends is a critically important data source for policy makers, conservation organizations, state agencies and federal agencies. Read more

Resources

Contact Us
  • Address: 1500 Research Pkwy
    College Station, TX 77843
  • Phone: (979) 845-1851
  • Email: irnr@tamu.edu
About Land Trends

Texas Land Trends was developed by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources in cooperation with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Texas Agricultural Land Trust. Texas Land Trends was funded by the Meadows Foundation, Houston Endowment, Mitchell Foundation, Hershey Foundation and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.