Farmers plowing up more and more of the prairie

Farmers plowing up more and more of the prairie
October 7, 2013
In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have transformed millions of acres of prairie grass to rows of corn. High crop prices are a big motivation, but some also believe crop insurance is encouraging farmers to roll the dice on less productive land.

Rod Christen and his sister Kay farm corn, soybeans and wheat on their land near the small town of Steinauer, Neb. But their main crop is grass.

“Big bluestem is our big producer,” said Rod Christen. “It’s kind of our Cadillac grass.”

On a cool October morning after a thunderstorm we walked through one of the family’s native prairie pastures, yellow bunches of goldenrod and bluestem shimmering in the breeze.

Between 200 and 300 cows and their calves graze year round on the prairie grass. It’s both a natural resource and the farm’s foundation.  READ MORE