AP Human Geography: Agricultural lands

ActivityExplore the patterns of world agriculture in this ESRI geoinquiry for AP Human Geography using global climatic data to analyze the factors that constrain and enable agriculture. 

Connections can be made to a local context by turning on different layers in this Wyoming Atlas web map and asking similar questions about Wyoming compared to rest of the U.S. and the globe: 

  • Look at the legend and click on Wyoming and other states to compare the the amount of cropland
  • How much rainfall does Wyoming get compared to the rest of the U.S. and other countries? Is it enough rainfall to support crops (without irrigation from rivers)? [Wyoming has 2.5 million acres (9%) of cropland. This total is relatively small compared to 29.1 million acres in Texas (16.9%) and 28.5 million acres in Kansas (54.1%).]
  • Have students zoom into Wyoming and click on different counties to see which counties produce crops and what kinds of crops. 
  • Does elevation and terrain (flat land versus mountainous land) play a role in agriculture?
  • What other types of agriculture are there besides crops? Have the students click on Albany county, Wyoming to see what the predominate "crop" is for this county. [The answer is forage, which is usually hay or some other vegetation grown specifically for livestock] 
  • While only 9% of Wyoming land is used for crops, combined cropland and land used for livestock/ranching is 30.4 million acres (48.6%). Wyoming ranks 11th nationally in total land in farms/ranches, and ranks 1st for average size of farms/ranches. 

AP Human Geography benchmark: 

  • APHG: 5.B. Major agricultural production regions
  • APHG: 5.B1. Agricultural systems associated with bioclimatic zones
  • APHG: 5.C. Rural land use and settlement patterns

Learning Outcomes: Students will evaluate bioclimatic regions and assess their viability for agricultural production.