According to a new analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation, the spike in commodity prices of a few years ago didn’t necessarily lead to an increase in sensitive acres put into production. Farm Bureau Economist Veronica Nigh took a look at CRP acres and cropland in the Prairie Pothole Region — a topographical region within parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, and the Dakotas — and found “the total number of acres planted to cropland has remained virtually the same. This means despite high commodity prices a few years ago, farmers did not plow under their prairies or drain their wetlands en masse.” According to Nigh, there’s also been an increase in Conservation Reserve Program acres enrolled in wetland and buffer practices over the last 15 years. With the 2018 farm bill expanding total CRP acreage to 27 million acres by 2023, Nigh predicts if “the trend of installing wetland and buffer practices on CRP lands continues, an increase in wetland acres is likely.”

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