Land Use Change Theory Affected by New USDA Report

Land Use Change Theory Affected by New USDA Report

RFA says report shows that farmers don't need to expand cropland to meet ethanol production.

USDA's acreage report shows U.S. land dedicated to crops has dropped again this year declining six million acres since 2008. The Renewable Fuels Association says that's further proof growth in ethanol production isn't leading to cropland expansion. RFA CEO and President Bob Dinneen says the data show crop acres in the U.S. continue to trend downward because new technology and dramatically increasing yields are allowing farmers to produce more crops on less land.

While corn acres increased RFA notes that was more than offset by reductions in acreage for other coarse grains and wheat as total crop area is down 360,000 acres. Total crop acres are estimated at 318.9 million. For comparison purposes RFA notes total planted acres averaged 327 million in the 1990s. And despite the fact farmers planted fewer acres to corn than in 2007, when the first 13 billion bushel crop was harvested, a record 13.3 billion bushel crop is expected this year.

RFA states high levels of Conservation Reserve Program acreage caused corn plantings to be down from last year in many states. Corn acres dropped 4% in Texas, the leading CRP state in the nation. Dinneen says the report reinforces the fact that the nation's farmers simply don't need to expand cropland to meet global demands for food, feed, fiber and biofuels.

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