Amber Waves: The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America
Federal programs may encourage farmers to convert native grasslands—land that has never been cultivated — to production of corn, soybeans, and other crops, leading to potential losses of Northern Plains' native grasslands. Federally subsidized crop insurance reduces risk associated with crops grown on converted grasslands and, over time, increases average returns to production by making crop farming more attractive. Other programs, including Federal disaster assistance and marketing loan benefits, also reduce risk and increase returns to crop production on converted grasslands. While these programs can be important risk management tools for farmers, they may also result in unintended, environmentally damaging actions.