Farm/Ranch to Market Facts

Farm/Ranch to Market Facts

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  • The year 1936 brought the beginning of the first farm to market road, although the great impetus for the construction of FM roads was not to come until after World War II.  The first Farm to Market Road was built between Mount Enterprise and Shiloh in Rusk County, a distance of 5.8 miles. The project began in April 1936 and was completed in January 1937 at a total cost of $48,015.12. This FM was redesignated in the general redesignation of highways in 1939 as a segment of State Highway 315.
  • In 1949, the legislature passed the Colson-Briscoe Act, calling for an annual appropriation of $15 million from the State General Fund for the construction of farm to market roads.
  • And although the signs say "Farm Road" and "Ranch Road," the actual designation is "farm to market" and “ranch to market ”, with the exception of Ranch Road 1, which is the only formally designated Ranch Road in the state. It parallels the Pedernales River around the former ranch home of President Lyndon B. Johnson. There is one other similar designation.  It is NASA 1, around the Mission Control Center in Houston.
  • U. S. 281 runs from the Red River border of Oklahoma and Texas on the north to the Rio Grande border on the south, through Wichita Falls, San Antonio, and McAllen. Agricultural roads east of U. S. 281 are generally designated farm to market roads. Those west of U. S. 281 are generally designated ranch to market roads. There are exceptions, but that is how TxDOT prefers to designate them.
  • The longest Farm to Market Road is FM 168 at 139.421 miles.
  • The shortest Farm to Market Road is FM 742, at 0.175 mile.
  • The longest Ranch to Market Road is RM 187, at 81.9 miles.
  • The shortest Ranch to Market Road is RM 3474, at 0.694 mile.
  • Texas is the only state in the union to have Farm to Market Roads.

 

For more information, you can go to the Statistical Roadway Information page.

FACTS COURTESY OF TRANSPORTATION NEWS, OCTOBER 1997, TEXAS HIGHWAY MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 1967, AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING & PROGRAMMING DIVISION