Flash drought hits High Plains
Drought deepened during “quite the dry week” in the High Plains, said the Drought Monitor on Thursday. “Flash drought conditions are impacting the region, especially in the Dakotas, where warm, dry, and windy conditions have provided ideal harvest conditions but have started taking a toll.”
Farmland values soar more than 20 percent in Midwest and Plains
Strong agricultural income and favorable interest rates are fueling a nonstop climb in farmland values in the Plains and Midwest, said farm bankers in quarterly surveys by the Kansas City and Chicago Federal Reserve banks. The Chicago Fed said farmland values in the opening months of this year were 23 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2021; the increase was 24 percent for non-irrigated land in the Plains.
Rapid increase in farmland values in central Plains
Fueled by strong farm income and low interest rates, farmland values soared more than 20 percent in the central Plains during 2021, according to a quarterly survey of ag bankers by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. A majority of the lenders said they expected values to increase this year, but an equally large number "also indicated that farmland values were currently over-valued, suggesting there may still be future risks of declines," said the regional Fed.
Drought worsens in wheat-growing Plains
The long-running drought that covers more than half of the continental United States — mostly west of the Mississippi — worsened in the central and southern Plains last week, the heart of U.S. winter wheat production, said the government's Drought Monitor on Thursday. In Kansas, the No. 1 winter wheat state, 31 percent of the crop was rated as being in poor or very poor condition.
Conversion of grasslands accelerates in Great Plains
After slowing with the collapse of the commodity boom nearly a decade ago, the conversion of grassland to row crops is accelerating in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, said the World Wildlife Fund.
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.