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U.S. may allow corn farming on conservation land

U.S. may allow corn farming on conservation land

U.S. may allow corn farming on conservation land
June 23, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture may allow farmers to plant corn on million of acres of conservation land to bolster the food supply in response to flooding in the Midwest and record high prices spurred by demand for domestic ethanol production, according to a report in the New York Times.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and one of Capitol Hill’s main voices on farm policy, on Friday urged the Agriculture Department to release tens of thousands of farmers from contracts under which they had promised to set aside huge tracts as natural habitat,” wrote David Streitfeld. “An Agriculture Department spokesman said Friday that the Grassley proposal would be considered.”

One quarter of the U.S. corn crop is used for ethanol production. Critics say the use of corn as an energy feedstock is distorting the global food market, driving up prices for a range of commodities, including soybeans and livestock. Some have blamed corn ethanol production for indirectly fueling pollution in the Gulf of Mexico as well as deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

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Corn ethanol is worsening the Gulf dead zone March 10, 2008

Proposed legislation that will expand corn-ethanol production in the United States will worsen the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and hurt marine fisheries, report researchers writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

U.S. corn subsidies drive Amazon destruction December 13, 2007

U.S. corn subsidies for ethanol production are contributing to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, reports a tropical forest scientist writing in this week’s issue of the journal Science.