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Iowa Ag Review

Abstract

Growing demand for corn due to the expansion of ethanol has increased concerns that environmentally sensitive lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will return to crop production. Most of the land currently in the CRP was enrolled because of the potential for environmental damage if it were farmed. A return of this land to crop production would likely lead to lower environmental quality. Iowa has a large number of CRP acres, it produces more ethanol than any other state, and it produces the most corn. Thus, an examination of the impacts of higher crop prices on Iowa land moving out of the CRP and the resulting effects on soil erosion, nutrient losses, and carbon sequestration will give insight into what we might expect nationally in the years ahead if crop prices remain high.