Montana Best State to Start a Farm
Lawn Starter has compared the 50 states across 42 key metrics to rank the best state in which to start a farm or ranch. Montana comes out at the very top.
The ranking is the result of examining existing farm communities to indicate viability, good infrastructure, and a suitable climate. They also compared the states based on overhead and the potential for return on investment.
Lawn Starter’s announcement stated, “The Big Sky State earns the top spot in our ranking of 2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch. With agriculture its biggest industry, Montana’s victory comes as little surprise.
“The state placed in the top 10 in five out of seven categories and No. 15 in ROI Potential. Montana trails only Wyoming in farm size, averaging a whopping 2,156 acres, and the average cost of an acre in the Treasure State is lowest in the U.S.
“Although ranching is woven into the state’s cultural fabric, farming also contributes significantly to the state’s economy. Montana is a top supplier of beef, and it leads the nation’s production of organic certified wheat, dry peas, lentils, flax, and honey.”
Montana’s Rank for Some Key Metrics (1 = Best)
* Increase in Farmland Area Over Past Year – 1st
* Share of Electricity from Renewable Sources – 7th
* Number of Critical Access Hospitals – 8th
* Yearly Average Number of Very Hot Days (90 Degrees F or Higher) – 18th
* Natural Hazards Index – 5th
* Farm Workers per 100,000 Residents – 9th
* Average Per-Acre Cost of Farmland – 1st
* Average Per-Farm Receipts from Federal Programs – 4th
Coming in at No. 2 is Kansas, while Texas clocks in at No. 4, Oklahoma at No. 5, and Iowa in seventh place. Both Dakotas made it, too, at Nos. 3 and 6. Colorado (No. 9) and Wyoming (No. 10) round out the Plains states at the top.
But how specifically did this broad, sweeping landscape dominate the top of our ranking? Most of these states, such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, boast cheap land, large established farming communities for support, and highly developed infrastructure.
Alaska not only ranked at the very bottom of our ranking of top agricultural states, but it also finished last in two out of seven categories, Viability and Climate; third to last in Personnel; and in the worst 10 of Infrastructure and ROI Potential. These results are hardly a shock. Although Alaska is the bi