According to a recent story in the Corn and Soybean Digest, a group of 30 state and national agribusiness groups are asking the USDA to let farmers plant corn on land currently set aside for conservation through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Why take this land out of conservation? Yep: ethanol. These groups, who mostly represent livestock producer interests, say they need that land to grow enough corn for both ethanol and livestock.
Most CRP land has been set aside because it’s not well-suited to crop production — it’s prone to severe erosion, it floods regularly, it’s hilly and therefore tough to work, etc. Under current regulations, farmers are penalized for taking land out of CRP before its registration term expires.
Putting corn on marginal land for a minuscule amount of fuel. Not a good idea.
To be fair, we do have to sympathize with the livestock producers who are faced with an increasingly tight corn supply. I mean, we know we can’t feed our cattle anything else.