The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 18, 2013

Balance farm land use, conservation

For at least the past five years the pheasant and duck populations in Minnesota have been on the decline. Although there are several factors which may contribute to the decline, there is one noticeable cause. The expansion of farming has contributed to the loss of wildlife in Minnesota over recent years.

With increasing land and commodity prices over the past several years farmers have seized the opportunity to till up more land and thereby harvest more acres of crops. As a result of more acres being farmed, tiling operations have increased and more acres of varying soil types are being put into crop production. Furthermore, the marketplace has changed so that it is financially more beneficial to take land out of the Conservation Reserve Program.

Although from a positive perspective we do live in a capitalist society, the question bears asking: How much land do we really need to put into crop production? Also, how many people in other countries are we responsible for feeding?

With dwindling habitat for wildlife we should be cognizant of the causes of this decline. Also, it may be prudent to think about the future and how to better balance land use and conservation.

Matt Lundquist


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