Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2015


Urbanization has been directly linked to decreases in area of agricultural lands and, as such, has been considered a threat to food security. Although the area of land used to produce food has diminished, often overlooked have been changes in agricultural output. The Eastern Corn Belt Plains (ECBP) is an important agricultural region in the U.S. Midwest. It has both gained a significant amount of urban land, primarily from the conversion of agricultural land between 1973 and 2000, and at the same time continued to produce ever-increasing quantities of agricultural products. By 2002, more corn, soybeans, and hogs were produced on a smaller agricultural land base than in 1974. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, ECBP ecoregion society appeared to have “had it both ways”: more urbanization along with increased agricultural output.