While the decline of gamebird habitat in South Dakota and across the midwest is a tragic, there is another side of the story: The pinch many farmers are feeling today, and how this pinch drives them to plant crops on more and more of their land.
Gunnar Rundgren is an organic farmer with an interesting perspective on where this pinch comes from and where it’s leading America’s agricultural community. Here’s an excerpt from a piece he published on the website Postgrowth.org.
Check it out, and click through to learn more what else is going on across America’s farmland.
By Gunnar Rundgren on 1st November 2013
Large farms now dominate crop production in the United States. Although most cropland was operated by farms with less than 600 crop acres in the early 1980s, today most cropland is on farms with at least 1,100 acres, and many farms are 5 and 10 times that size. Meanwhile, in 1987, the average dairy herd size was 80 cows; by 2007, it was 570 cows. The change in hogs was even more striking, from 1,200 hogs removed in a year to 30,000. These long-term shifts in farm size have been accompanied by greater specialization—beginning with a separation of livestock farming from crop farming in the latter half of the 20th century. For instance in 1900, there were dairy cows and hogs on three-fourth of the farms, while in 2005 only one farm in twenty had either hogs or dairy cows. This allowed crop farmers to devote more time to crop production, invest in crop production and gradually increase yields and acreage…
Read the entire piece now to learn more about how farming in America has changed, and how it needs to change to be sustainable into the future.