Agriculture has guided and shaped the history of Boulder County's eastern communities in similar fashion to how mining influenced the western parts. The conversion of agricultural land to other uses, while providing such benefits of urbanization such as housing, shopping and roads, at the same time represents certain losses. Community heritage, open space and other recreational uses, wildlife values and aesthetics are traded off when agricultural land is paved for development.
Total Acreage of Farmland and Rangeland,
As of 1992 (1997 data are not yet available), 157,000 acres or roughly 30% of Boulder County could be classified as in agricultural production (either farms or range).
The agricultural land trend in Boulder County shows a 45% decrease in farmland and rangeland from 1959 to 1992. During the same period state-wide, 12% of Colorado's agricultural lands were converted to other uses. Most of the conversion of agricultural land in Boulder County occurred prior to 1982.
The increase in agricultural land from 1974-1982 is difficult to explain and is probably due largely to methodological flaws in the data collection process.
Approximately 30% of Boulder County's land base is in agricultural production.