In Rural Counties, Oil Dependency Rises While Reliance on Farming Drops

Jun 6, 2016

Credit USDA / Rural Blog

Many rural areas in America are becoming less reliant on agriculture and more oil and gas dependent, reports The Rural Blog. According to the USDA, over the last ten years the number of farming dependent counties in the US has dropped. In that same period, the number of mining-dependent counties grew by 60 percent.

The growth in the latter is due in large part to the boom in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The decline in farm-dependent counties also has to do with corporate farm consolidation. Since the beginning of the century, the number of farm jobs in America has dropped by almost 15%. In the same period, total farm earnings have increased by almost 65 percent.

The Midwest was the only area to see consistent farming dependence become more concentrated. In every other region, it dropped off.