Download Agricultural Conservation: Converting Grassland to Cropland by United States Government Accountability Office PDF

By United States Government Accountability Office

The nation's last grassland has numerous very important merits, similar to supplying land for grazing and natural world habitat for plenty of at-risk species. although, during the last three centuries approximately half the grassland has been switched over to different makes use of, largely cropland. as well as wasting vital grassland values, such conversions may end up in elevated spending on federal farm courses, equivalent to crop coverage, specifically in marginal components. This booklet examines: the level of grassland conversions to cropland and the price of farm application funds for those newly switched over cropland acres; the relative value of farm software funds as opposed to different components in manufacturers' judgements to transform grassland to cropland; and, any influence the Sodbuster conservation provision - which locations soil erosion criteria on definite switched over land - has had on restricting grassland conversions. This publication is an excerpted and edited variation.

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Appendix I OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY At the request of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, we reviewed issues related to grassland conversions. Specifically, we determined (1) the extent of grassland conversions to cropland and the cost of farm program payments related to these newly converted cropland acres, (2) the relative importance of farm program payments versus other factors in producers’ decisions to convert grassland to cropland, and (3) any impact the Sodbuster provision has had on limiting grassland conversions.

We first looked retrospectively at the time period from 2003 through 2006 to see the effects of prices, yields, and farm payments on costs and returns. [7] For 2003 through 2007, we adjusted all yield data to reflect the fact that this newly converted land may represent “marginal” or less productive land than the land that was already in crop production. [8] On the basis of this information, we then adjusted the county average crop yields for corn, soybeans, and spring wheat to estimate a likely yield for a newly converted parcel of native grassland for a particular year.

82 million acres of grassland in South Dakota were converted to cropland. About half of this acreage had been rangeland, generally supporting native grasses and vegetation, and the other half pastureland. Other states had similar patterns during this period. 16 million acres. 35 million acres. Table 5. 00 Source: GAO’s analysis using data from South Dakota State University, NRCS, NASS, RMA, FSA, and Drovers’ Inc. Notes: (1) We assumed a decision was made to convert to crop production in 2003 and carried forward through 2007.

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