The Number 1 Irrigated Crop? Lawns…Really!

June 27, 2011

One of my favorite tv shows is CBS Sunday Morning, which I usually get around to watching on my daily lunch hour, thanks to DVR.

In one recent episode about the American obsession with lawns, it was pointed out that NASA estimates U.S. lawns cover 40 million acres! That’s about the size of Kentucky. It’s reasonable to conclude with that information that lawns are the number 1 irrigated crop in this country.

Just for grins, and because I love to google, I looked up how many irrigated acres there are in the U.S.  The total, according to a USDA bulletin, is 39.9 acres. Yep, lawns win by a hair.  But wait, what about profit?

Now, that’s the interesting part.  A “real” farm profit is what you get after the inputs and debt is paid, right?  So, what’s the profit of  keeping your lawn looking pretty?  For most of us, it’s pure, unadulterated satisfaction and maybe a jealous neighbor or two.  The real profit is in the business of lawn care.

I shared this information with my friend, Farmer John.  He looked kind of mystified and suddenly said, “I better go home and turn the sprinklers on.”  So much for lawn profits.


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