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Utah Highlights 1997 National Resources Inventory

NRI LogoUtah Highlights
1997 National Resources Inventory
(Revised December 2000)
Last Modification: Wednesday March 16, 2001

Surface Area

In 1997, the total surface area of Utah was estimated to be 54,338,900 acres.

  • Federal land about 63%
  • Non-federal rural lands about 32%
  • Developed lands* about 1%
  • Permanent water about 3%
  • *Urban lands and rural transportation lands
  • Land Use on Non-Federal Lands

In 1997, non-federal rural land in the state amounted to an estimated 17,598,600 acres.

  • Rangeland about 60%
  • Other Rural Land* about 15%
  • Cropland about 10%
  • Forestland about 10%
  • Pastureland about 4%
  • CRP** Land about 1%

*Farmsteads, farm structures, field windbreaks, barren land, and marshland
**Conservation Reserve Program

Reduction in Cropland Acres

From 1982 to 1997, cropland plus pastureland in Utah declined an estimated 204,000 acres, from about 2,578,000 acres to about 2,374,000 acres.  Most of this decline was due to the fact that approximately 216,000 acres of highly erodible and environmentally sensitive cropland was enrolled in the voluntary Conservation

Reserve Program (CRP) by Utah farmers

In addition, an estimated 105,000 acres of croplands were converted to urban lands from 1982 to 1997 with about 64,000 acres being in Davis Weber, Tooele, Salt Lake and Utah counties.

Increase of Urban Lands Between 1982 and 1997

The largest increase in acreage on non-federal lands was for urban lands, which grew from an estimated 296,400 acres in 1982 to about 484,400 acres in 1997. This is a 61% increase.

Conversion of Agricultural to Urban Lands

The growth of urban lands in Utah from 1982 to 1997 came primarily from the conversion of natural resource lands.

In Utah by 1997, there was an estimated total of 484,400 acres of urban land.  Major conversions to Urban Land between 1982 and 1997*:

  • Rangeland about 65,300 acres
  • Cropland about 79,200 acres
  • Pastureland about 26,100 acres
  • Forestland about 11,900 acres

The estimated average rate of conversion of these lands was about 7,000 acres per year between 1982 and 1997.* There were about 296,400 acres of Urban Land in 1982 in Utah.  


About 1,714,800 acres of non-federal land was irrigated in Utah in 1997.  Approximate acreage of dominant uses:

  • Non-Cultivated Cropland 922,400 (54%)
  • Pasture 463,000 (27%)
  • Cultivated Cropland 329,400 (19%)

Prime Farmland Soils

Total Prime Farmland Soils in Utah were estimated at 808,100 (2% of total) acres in 1997.  Between 1982 and 1997, an estimated 85,000 acres of prime farmland soils on natural resource lands were converted to urban lands.


Comparisons made using data published for the 1982, 1987, or 1992 NRI may produce erroneous results. This is due to changes in statistical estimation protocols, and because all data collected prior to 1997 were simultaneously reviewed (edited) as 1997 NRI data were collected. All definitions are available in the glossary. In addition, this December 2000 revision of the 1997 NRI data updates information released in December 1999 and corrects a computer error discovered in March 2000.