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Plowed Under

Monday, August 6, 2012

Growers plowed under more than 23 million acres of grassland, shrub land and wetlands in order to plant commodity crops between 2008 and 2011, a new report by Environmental Working Group and Defenders of Wildlife shows.

The analysis, titled, “Plowed Under,” found that 11 states had habitat losses of at least 1 million acres each over the three-year period. Most of the destroyed habitat was in states in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest, but some of the highest rates of habitat conversion to grow crops were in drought-plagued portions of West Texas and Oklahoma. The losses were greatest in counties that received the largest amounts of crop insurance subsidies.

The comprehensive analysis is the most accurate estimate currently available of the rate of habitat conversion in the farm belt. It underscores the need for Congress to fully fund conservation programs to mitigate the devastating effects of severe weather and to reject proposals to extend unlimited insurance subsidies without environmental protections.

Several news outlets, including C-SPAN, covered the release of the report. To read some of the coverage of “Plowed Under,” click on the following links:

The Hill: Report: Farm subsidies contribute to wetland damage

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Natural Landscapes Are Falling To The Plow, Say Conservation Groups

Bloomberg: Farmers Turn Wild Habitats Into Corn Fields As Crop Prices Rise

Des Moines Register: Environmental Groups’ Study Says Subsidies, High Crop Prices Lead to Habitat Loss

DTN/The Progressive Farmer: Sensitive Lands Lost to Crops

Table Scraps:

The Weekly Standard’s Eli Lehrer calls on Congress to reconsider the House version of the farm bill, saying it “fails to rein in entitlements, banishes the last vestiges of the free market from American agriculture and threatens to harm the environment.”

A North Carolina producer pens an op-ed in the Daily Advance on climate change, sayin that”the underlying fear, of course, is that the scientists are right: that what we’re experiencing is the knife-edge of worldwide global warming.”

Tweet of the Day:

@rebmoti Why Drought-Stricken Farmers Will Pay The Price For A Failed Climate Bill by ‪ ‪#ksleg

*Please note: Policy Plate will resume on a daily basis after the congressional recess in September.

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