January 8, 2014

How crop insurance affects our landscapes

Every-day decisions on farmland are a major driver of the state of the landscapes that we see around us.  Those landscapes affect the people who live on them, as well as the wildlife, water, and other natural resources supported by the landscapes.

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the idea that economics drive landscape decisions--the decisions made on a daily or annual basis by landowners who want to do the right thing for their families.

Here's a 4-minute video, produced by the World Wildlife Fund, which explains--using artwork with stick figures and easy economics---how federal crop insurance has a big effect on the decision to ranch cattle or plant crops.  On marginal lands, this has become a major part of the decision-making process.  Grass is disappearing at huge rates, and Nebraska (my home state) leads the nation in conversion of grass to crops.

And, people still wonder why pheasants, ducks, and prairie-chickens are not as common in Nebraska.

Watch the video.  Watch the current debates in Congress about the Farm Bill.  And, encourage your representatives in Congress to support our landscapes and support our farm families with a Farm Bill that makes sense.  At the moment, as the video suggests, your tax dollars are paying to make grasslands disappear.

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