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Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1177;

Grassland and Wheat Loss Affected by Corn and Soybean Expansion in the Midwest Corn Belt Region, 2006–2013

Department of History, Armstrong State University, Savannah, GA 31419, USA
Department of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hossein Azadi
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land and Food Policy)
Full-Text   |   PDF [11210 KB, uploaded 18 November 2016]   |  


Increases in agricultural commodity price triggered by ethanol production and other socioeconomic conditions have dramatically affected land uses and agronomic practices in the U.S. This study used crop-specific land cover data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to analyze agricultural expansion and crop rotation pattern from 2006 to 2013 in the Midwest Corn Belt (MWCB): nine states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota. We identified a total of 3.9 million acres’ grassland loss between 2007 and 2012. The net loss of grassland occurred mainly along the western MWCB, an area with competing demand for limited water supply. Net conversion of grassland to corn or soybean is likely the result of a resumption of cropping on lands previously enrolled under the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), as well as expansion beyond CRP lands. Wheat, small grains, and other crops were also impacted by corn and soybean expansion. The amount of corn planted on corn increased by 23% between 2006 and 2013, whereas the amount of continuous soybean cropping fluctuated over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural expansion; corn; soybeans; grassland loss; midwest corn belt agricultural expansion; corn; soybeans; grassland loss; midwest corn belt

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lin, M.; Henry, M.C. Grassland and Wheat Loss Affected by Corn and Soybean Expansion in the Midwest Corn Belt Region, 2006–2013. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1177.

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