A new sage grouse conservation plan released by the Interior Department has ranchers and energy developers in the West cheering, while environmentalists worry about the endangered bird’s future.
The grasslands of the Great Plains, stretching from Texas into the Canadian prairies, are disappearing faster than the forests of Brazil as farmers try to cash in crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. In a report released today, the World Wildlife Fund says 3.7 million acres of grassland were converted to cropland in 2015, more than twice as much as the 1.4 million acres of forestland in Brazil leveled for crops and livestock.
Virtually no organic honey sold commercially in the U.S. comes from domestic hives, as commodity-crop farmers convert ever more grassland into cropland, leaving honeybees with fewer pesticide-free fields to forage, reports Civil Eats. North Dakota, for instance, which produces more honey than any other state, lost more than 100,000 acres of grassland over the past decade.
With cattle prices at record highs, grassland prices are a good bet to rise in the coming year, the head of a farm management company tells DTN.