Download Agricultural Conservation: Converting Grassland to Cropland by United States Government Accountability Office PDF

By United States Government Accountability Office

The nation's last grassland has numerous very important advantages, resembling offering land for grazing and natural world habitat for plenty of at-risk species. even though, over the last three centuries approximately half the grassland has been switched over to different makes use of, largely cropland. as well as wasting very important grassland values, such conversions can result in elevated spending on federal farm courses, reminiscent of crop coverage, specifically in marginal components. This ebook examines: the level of grassland conversions to cropland and the price of farm application funds for those newly switched over cropland acres; the relative value of farm software funds as opposed to different components in manufacturers' judgements to transform grassland to cropland; and, any impression the Sodbuster conservation provision - which areas soil erosion criteria on sure switched over land - has had on proscribing grassland conversions. This publication is an excerpted and edited variation.

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Appendix IV PARTIAL BUDGET ANALYSIS FOR A PROPOSED CONVERSION OF NATIVE GRASSLAND TO CROPLAND IN CENTRAL SOUTH DAKOTA, 2003-2007 To assess the economic incentives to convert native grassland to cropland at the farm level, we used a partial budget analysis and a “constructed” farm scenario for a 160-acre tract in Hand County, South Dakota—a central South Dakota county that was relatively high in 2005 and 2006 conversions of grassland that had no cropping history. A partial budget can be used by a farmer or rancher to evaluate the economic effects of making an adjustment to a part of the farm operation, such as switching to an alternative farm enterprise or buying new machinery.

During these years, crop and calf prices varied and central South Dakota experienced a range of weather conditions that affected crop and forage production. These changes in price and production make these years illustrative for analysis of the effect farm program payments can have on farm enterprises. We found that for certain years, high crop prices as well as farm program payments would provide economic incentives for a producer to convert native grassland used for grazing in a cow-calf operation to an alternative cropping operation.

2) The net change in income is the result of comparing the alternate income streams from cropping (corn, soybeans, and spring wheat) versus grazing (cow-calf operation). (3) Both herd liquidation and conversion costs were amortized over a 5-year period from 2003 to 2007 at a 6 percent rate of interest. a While the 2003 to 2006 results are retrospective, the 2007 crop had not been harvested as of July 2007. On the basis of July 2007 crop prices and USDA estimates, we assumed no marketing assistance loan payments would be made for 2007.

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