Throughout childhood my grandmother constantly reminded me that one day I would be the owner of a large-acreage farm in Iowa. From childhood into adulthood my knowledge of farming practices and their capacity for widespread land degradation began to trouble my ideology of how an Iowa farm should be managed.
The state and federal government’s push for corn-based ethanol production pushed farmers to convert 2.7 million acres of land for corn used for ethanol. Continuing to alter Iowa’s natural landscape into monoculture crop land for ethanol production is proving deadly to the state’s wildlife, water, and air quality.
As Iowa’s landscape changes, so should our thoughts on how each acre of land is managed. The National Resources Conservation Service provides an alternative to land degradation caused by the demand for corn-based ethanol. The Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Preserve conserve the remaining natural habitat in Iowa, while providing economic incentives for farmers. I encourage all farm owners in Iowa to sit down with their immediate family and rethink how their land is managed. Consider the environmental impacts of altering the landscape for ethanol production and think of how you want the state of Iowa to look in the future.