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Rural Character


Source: USDA

73% of Vermont is forested land – over 4.5 million acres. Since a comprehensive inventory was conducted in 1997 the amount of forested land has been relatively stable, although it has declined about 5% since 2013. About 21% of forested land is publicly owned (local, state and federal).


Source: Vermont Farmland Information Center based on USDA National Resources Inventory

The USDA National Resources Inventory (NRI) tracks trends on non-Federal land in the U.S. Since 1982, developed land in Vermont has increased by 52% while the amount of land under government management also increased by 44%. In the same time frame, the overall amount of non-Federal rural land in Vermont has decreased only slightly at 5%. Within different rural land use categories, pastureland and cropland decreased by 25% and 18% respectively and other rural land uses (defined by NRI as including farmsteads and other farm structures, field windbreaks, barren land, and marshland) increased by 43%.


Source: USDA Agricultural Census

Based on the USDA Agricultural Census (2012, to be updated in 2017) Vermont has 7,338 farms. Most are in the 10-500 acre range producing diverse raw and value-added products. Dairy and maple products constitute the majority of sales and exports for Vermont’s agricultural sector.