KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports - - Farming Incentives Are Causing Environmental Impacts

Farming Incentives Are Causing Environmental Impacts

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MANKATO, Minn. -

Arndt says "The trend out there right now to farm everypossible acre will probably remain that way, like I said, until somethingchanges drastically."

Dan Arndt, Manager of Steele County Soil and WaterConservation program says "At Steele County here at one time we had 25,000acres of CRP and those 25,000 acres were some of the most marginal lands,erode–able, the more sensitive lands along the creeks and ditches, and a goodshare of that has been brought back into production."

Dan Arndt, with Steele County Soil and Water Conservation saysonly one third of that original CRP land contracts are being renewed.

Noel Frank, District NRCS Conservationist say "Its morelucrative at today's prices in most all cases to farm it or rent it out forhigher rent then that program paid."

Environmental priorities, such as near waterways, havehigher rates with generally smaller acreage's for CRP's. In some cases, upwardsof $100 per acre. But compare that to producing 160 bushels of corn per acrewhich sells around $4.40 per bushel. Even in a marginal growing area such as aCRP the income potential incentivizes farmers.

Mylon Robram, a farmer since 1962, says "I can't reallyfault the farmer when for when his CRP comes up to either plow under orreestablish it. Yeah, maybe I'd probably do the same thing. Maybe they shouldbe able to get paid a little bit more per acres to leave it in CRP."

And with the environmental changes comes major impacts withpolicies that lag behind...

Steve Morse, Executive Director of Minnesota EnvironmentalPartnership, says "Unfortunately the state has not been collecting soliddata of what the costs are to all of these pollutants in our water

And with that raises serious questions about how we utilizeour farmland and the policies that influence them. And without a hard look atthe impacts of a changing landscape and the monetary costs involved we may bemoving into murkier waters.