Doug Smith reported on Saturday at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online that, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture could decide this week to open millions of acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands for crop production — a move that some say would be devastating for wildlife.
“CRP [statistics available here] has been called one of the most successful wildlife programs in history; some 34 million acres have been taken out of production and planted to grasses, reducing soil erosion and farm chemical runoff while providing a boon to wildlife. But its future appears uncertain.
“The ethanol boom, high commodity prices and spring flooding are causing federal officials to consider letting landowners out of CRP contracts. If that happens, grasslands could begin disappearing almost immediately as farmers begin to prepare them for crops.”