Biofuels Converting U.S.Prairielands at Dust Bowl Rates – The rush for biofuels in the United States has seen farmers converting the United States’ prairie lands to farms at rates comparable with deforestation levels in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia…
Numerous incentives have encouraged the ploughing of grasslands. The federal system of financial payments to grain farmers has long encouraged conversion of grasslands to farms, but in recent years new subsidies for corn ethanol and other biofuel production have significantly stepped up this inducement.
The resulting increase in crop prices encourages the owners of livestock to plough prairieland in order to grow crops in favour of using that land for grazing. This has lead to the growth of industrial farms and industrial confinement methods for meat production, while genetically modified seeds now allow corn and soy production in semiarid regions that before were suitable only for ranching.
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