TRIBUNE, Kan. (AP) - Millions of acres of farmland are being
released from a federal conservation program and could soon be
tilled. That's raising concerns about loss of wildlife habitat,
soil erosion and water quality.
The federal Conservation Reserve Program once protected more
than 39 million acres of farmland, but 3.4 million acres were taken
out of the program in September when the owners' contracts expired.
Most of them are in Texas, Colorado and Kansas, but hundreds of
thousands of acres also are coming out in Montana and the Dakotas.
That's because the 2008 Farm Bill capped the program at 32
The program pays landowners not to farm easily eroded land and
helps cover the cost of establishing ground cover to reduce soil
erosion and establish wildlife habitat.