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Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS): Resource Regions

ERS U.S. Farm Resource Regions

The U.S. farm sector consists of a highly diverse set of businesses and farm households committed to living in rural areas and engaging in farm economic activities. Since the early 1900's, USDA analysts have sought to identify patterns in U.S. farming that might further the understanding of differences in financial performance of farms and the economic well-being of farm households.

USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) constructed regions (called Farm Resource Regions) that depict geographic specialization in production of U.S. farm commodities. The ERS regions are derived from four sources:

Excel icon Download the county-to-ERS Resource Region aggregation in Excel.


U.S. Farm Resource Regions

ERS Farm Resource Regions

Data Presented by ERS Farm Resource Regions


Farm Production Regions

The older Farm Production Regions, in following State boundaries, necessarily group unlike areas together because a single State often encompasses different soils and typography. For example, the old Appalachian Region, comprised of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia, contains the Appalachian mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain areas, all of which have quite different agriculture.

Old Farm Production Regions

Patterns of Agricultural Diversity (Sommer and Hines)

County clusters, based on types of commodities produced, have shown that a few commodities tend to dominate farm production in specific geographic areas that cut across State boundaries. The climate, soil, water, and topography in localized geographic areas tend to constrain the types of crops and livestock that will thrive there.

Patterns of Agricultural Diversity (Sommer and Hines)

USDA Land Resource Regions

In constructing the ERS production regions, analysts identified where areas with similar types of farms intersected with areas of similar physiographic, soil, and climatic traits, as reflected in USDA's Land Resource Regions.

USDA Land Resource Regions (AHB-296)

NASS Crop Reporting Districts

ERS analysts then conformed these intersecting areas to follow the boundaries of NASS Crop Reporting Districts (CRD), which are aggregates of counties. With more and more data available at the county level, geographic representations need no longer be constrained to follow State boundaries. NASS districts aggregations of counties may be downloaded from this NASS site.

NASS Crop Reporting Districts

Related Resources


For more information, contact: Kathleen Kassel

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Updated date: September 21, 2010