Biofuel Mandate Destroys Grasslands

Congress mandates that gasoline contains 10 percent corn ethanol and the industry is pushing to boost this to 15 percent. The federal mandate contributes to higher grain prices as 40 percent of America’s corn crop is poured into our gas tanks. Now the Washington Post is reporting a new study that finds that there is one other highly predictable consequence of the mandate: farmers are plowing up more land to grow corn thus reducing prairie grasslands inhabited and used by wild creatures. As the Post observes:

America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.

new study by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of South Dakota State University finds that U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, driven by high crop prices and biofuel mandates (right). In states like Iowa and South Dakota, some 5 percent of pasture is turning into cropland each year.

It’s a big transformation in the heart of the country: The authors conclude that the rates of grassland loss are “comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia.” And those changes are already having plenty of impacts.

Read more at Reason. By Ronald Bailey.


  1. Obama is making every effort possible to strain the budgets of American families thus reducing their independence to care for family needs and welfare. These fuel mandates are raising the costs of all food staples, and ruining small engines like lawn mowers etc which impact family budget covertly. All of these little impacts are hurting this country and it is intentional. Barack Obama and his ilk, will not rest until America is like a pea hole in the snow, useless and devoid of all that we once knew as the greatest country ever concieved.

  2. Dan Stewart says:

    The bummer wants America to be just like his home country of kenya, riding bicycles or walking, crapping in the back yard & only eating occasionally. How could anyone who hates the US so strongly be elected potus twice? Answer, MASSIVE voter fraud. The blacks voted for him because he is half black, the whites to soothe their conscience about what their ancesters may have done, the dead people; I guess they just don't know any better.

  3. In a few years the prairie states will be a reenactment of the Dust Bowl years of the 30s and the corrupt government people who made it happen will say: "what me? I didn't have anything to do with it".

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