Pasturelands by WNYC

Data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that pasture and range conditions have been in decline for quite some time. Pasture varies in its uses but is important for harvesting livestock feed like hay, and provides range for animals to roam and graze. Less quality pasture means less food for livestock and other animals, which could lead to higher prices for meat and dairy products—or even a shortage. It also means more yellow and brown in typically green landscapes.

The USDA ranks pasture conditions from “excellent” to “very poor”, with “good” meaning yield prospects are normal. During the past two decades, only small portions of US pasture have regularly been in “excellent” condition but typically about 75% of US pasture is rated at least “fair.”

Conditions have continued to trend away from good since 2015. The portion of pasture and range rated “poor”, and “very poor” has increased—meaning more and more crops and grasslands are undergoing stress.

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