Iowa is best known as the top corn-producing state in the nation, but a small and determined group of farmers is trying to chip away at that reputation by bringing back small grains like rye, oats, and triticale, Twilight Greenaway reports in FERN’s latest story, published in collaboration with Yale Environment 360.
The amount of U.S. acres in organic farmland increased 11 percent in 2016 from 2014 numbers to reach 4.1 million acres, says a report by the data-service company Mercaris. The individual number of organic farms also jumped in that period by 1,000, to 14,979. The increase is largely due to consumer demand and economics, Scott Shander, an economist at Mercaris, told Civil Eats.
With corn and soybean prices plummeting, and pressure to reduce runoff from fields mounting, some Iowa farmers are turning to oats as a possible solution to both problems, says Harvest Public Media.
Farmers say they'll plant the third-largest amount of corn grown since World War II and the third-highest soybean area on record, superlatives that disguise some of the bad news in the annual Prospective Plantings report.