Idaho is blessed with more than 5 million acres of cropland, although there is now 16% less than there was 35 years ago.

Table 5

Idaho Cropland
by County

Adams Bear Lake Benewah Jefferson Bingham Blaine Boise Bonner Caribou Teton Bonneville Boundary Butte Camas Canyon Ada -30% Clark Clearwater Custer Elmore Franklin Fremont Gem Gooding Idaho Kootenai Lemhi Lincoln Madison Minidoka Lewis Nez Perce Latah Owyhee Payette Minidoka Oneida Bannock Power Jerome Twin Falls Valley Washington Cassia Total

Much of the decline was due to conversion to pastureland or other rural land use categories, such as the Conservation Reserve Program. The rest was due to population-driven urban development. Idaho is experiencing the most rapid population growth of any state in the country, driving the urban sprawl that, decade after decade, steadily nibbles away at this precious, irreplaceable resource.

Idaho lost over 370,000 acres (582 square miles) of rural and agricultural lands from 1982-2017, mostly due to Idaho’s rapidly growing population; no state in the country is growing faster.

The American Farmland Trust projects more than 100,000 additional acres will be lost by 2040 unless the status quo changes. Idahoans are committed to protecting those lands.


Government data show that the United States now has about one-third less cropland for each American than it did 30 years ago. How important is it to protect U.S. farmland from development so the United States is able to produce enough food to feed Americans in the future?

81% 14% 3% 2% 0% veryimportant somewhatimportant not veryimportant not sure not at allimportant

In Idaho, approximately 3.3 million acres of farmland are irrigated, and irrigation is crucial to food production in the state. Cities and towns compete for scarce water with agriculture. Should water used to irrigate farmland be diverted to support additional human population growth in Idaho?

73% 14% 12% 73% 14% 12% water should not be diverted from agriculture to support more residents not sure water should be diverted from agriculture to support more residents

More than three-quarters of Idaho’s 582 square miles of lost open space, rural and agricultural lands since 1982 has been due to Idaho’s population growth.

State Population Growth


(last decade) Ranked by Percentage

Table 2

Idaho Population Growth Due to Natural Increase and Net Migration


Net Migration
(in-migration minus out-migration)
Natural Increase
(births minus deaths)

IdahoPopulation Growth Due Directly to International Net Migration


Growth Unrelated to International Immigration
Growth Directly and Indirectly due to International Immigration

Solutions Idahoans Support

56% of Idaho voters want local and state governments to make it more difficult for people to move to Idaho from other states by restricting development

54% Idaho voters favor reducing immigration.