The amount of farmland is decreasing throughout the Midwest. But scientists say the amount of agricultural land is increasing worldwide… bringing additional challenges to U.S. farmers. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Farmland is disappearing throughout the Midwest, but scientists
say the amount of agricultural land is increasing worldwide… bringing
additional challenges to U.S. farmers. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Researchers have used satellite data and statistics from
government agencies to determine that more than one-third of the
earth’s land is used for agricultural activity.
Scientist Navin Ramankutty is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He says urban sprawl may be gobbling up farmland in the Midwest,
but in places like South America, farms are replacing the rainforest.
Ramankutty says the change concerns U.S. soybean farmers.
“The U.S. still continues to be the largest soybean exporter in the world,
but Brazil’s catching up really fast. So, soybean farmers here in the
Midwest are concerned about whether/how their markets will change
in the future.”
But while the global growth in agriculture is feeding more people,
Ramankutty says there are downsides for the environment in terms of
more water pollution and loss of forests. So, he says his research
team is trying to weigh the tradeoffs, and make recommendations on
what might be the best locations for new farms.
For the GLRC, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.