Study: U.S. commodity farmers imperil biodiversity for ever-lower yields

In less than a decade, U.S. corn, soybean and wheat fields wiped out an expanse of native grasslands and other ecosystems larger than the state of Maryland, according to a new analysis, destroying crucial wildlife habitat and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The new fields produced lower crop yields than existing farmland.(No paywall)

Grassland losses slow, still exceed 2 million acres for fourth year

Roughly 2.1 million acres of grasslands in the Great Plains were converted to cropland in 2018, equal to the loss of four footballs fields of land per minute, said the World Wildlife Fund on Wednesday. At the same time, the Plowprint Report said a nearly equal amount of land was returned to …

Still recovering from recession, rural America has assets for growth – CAP Report

Rural America was hit harder by the Great Recession than metropolitan areas and has not recovered fully, said the Center for American Progress on Monday. Although rural communities face unique challenges, they have assets for growth that include immigration, natural resources, agriculture, manufacturing and community social capital,  the social bonds and civic engagement that create a resilient spirit in a town, the think tank said in an issue paper.

This burger fights climate change, a new study says

A new Michigan State University study offers a ray of hope to America’s climate-concerned, burger eaters. Raised the right way, the study says grass-fed beef could be a part of a carbon-neutral—or even carbon-negative—diet. The study was led by professors Paige Stanley and Jason Rowntree and published in the journal Agricultural Systems.

Dry winter creates wildfire hazard in central and southern Plains

There is a higher than usual risk of wildfire through April in the central and southern Plains, said Kansas State University scientists and the National Interagency Coordination Center, which studies wildfire risks.

Great Plains loses 2.5 million acres of grasslands in one year

The annual Plowprint report by the World Wildlife Fund estimates 2.5 million acres of virgin grasslands in the Great Plains were converted to cropland, or energy and urban development last year. While it's a smaller loss than the 3.7 million acres of 2015, the perennial loss of grasslands is a threat to water quality and wildlife habitat in the Plains, which stretch from Texas into the Canadian prairies.

Climate change could make some places better for agriculture, others worse

Changes in soil moisture and increased temperatures could make some areas newly suitable for rainfed, non-irrigated agriculture, but others could lose viability, says a study published in the journal Nature by the U.S. Geological Survey.

GOP state senator to take on Heitkamp in North Dakota

Tom Campbell, a Republican state senator in North Dakota, has announced that he’ll try to steal the U.S. Senate seat in 2018 from Heidi Heitkamp — the state’s sole Democrat in Congress. Heitkamp, who was considered for a role in President Trump’s cabinet, was both the first senator and the first Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee to endorse Sonny Perdue to lead the USDA.