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

By United States Government Accountability Office

ISBN-10: 1604566302

ISBN-13: 9781604566307

ISBN-10: 1608762467

ISBN-13: 9781608762460

The nation's closing grassland has numerous vital merits, comparable to supplying land for grazing and flora and fauna habitat for lots of at-risk species. even if, over the last three centuries approximately half the grassland has been switched over to different makes use of, mostly cropland. as well as wasting very important grassland values, such conversions may end up in elevated spending on federal farm courses, corresponding 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 elements in manufacturers' judgements to transform grassland to cropland; and, any impression the Sodbuster conservation provision - which locations soil erosion criteria on convinced switched over land - has had on proscribing grassland conversions. This ebook is an excerpted and edited version.

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Extra resources for Agricultural Conservation: Converting Grassland to Cropland

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To determine the relative importance of the availability of farm program payments in producers’ decisions to convert grassland to cropland, we identified and reviewed studies that directly examined the economic incentives of farm program payments on a producer’s decision to convert grasslands to cropland, as well as related studies that examine the effects of farm program payments on farm profitability and risk. To evaluate how factors such as conversion costs, expected crop prices, crop production costs and technology, and farm program payments affect conversion decisions, we analyzed farm-level budget data for a hypothetical 160 acres in a South Dakota county that had a relatively high conversion rate during 2005 and 2006.

In the base plan, the producer had a 160-acre parcel of native grassland that was part of a larger cow-calf grazing enterprise. We analyzed cow-calf and crop budgets (1) prospectively for the current 2007 crop year and (2) retrospectively for crop years 2003 through 2006 to specifically evaluate the effects of past farm program payments on costs and returns. During these years, crop and calf prices varied and central South Dakota experienced a range of weather conditions that affected crop and forage production.

In addition, according to our analysis of NRCS records for selected Nebraska counties that have had relatively high conversion rates, slightly over half of the land parcels converted in those counties between 2003 and 2006 were classified as nonhighly erodible. Because non-highly erodible land is not subject to Sodbuster, producers who convert such land do not have to bear the cost of applying conservation systems in order to maintain farm program benefits. EVEN WHEN PLANNED CONVERSIONS ARE SUBJECT TO SODBUSTER, PRODUCERS ARE NOT USUALLY DETERRED According to FSA and NRCS officials, even when native grassland that is to be converted is classified as highly erodible, producers generally perceive that the potential profits from cropping the land outweigh the potential costs of controlling soil erosion as required by Sodbuster.

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

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