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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Turning North Dakota “Sodbusters” into “Sodsavers”

September 24, 2007

Bismarck, ND – According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), farmers' conservation efforts can reduce soil erosion, filter out pollutants from groundwater and provide a habitat for wildlife. However, current U.S. farm policy often encourages farmers to do exactly the opposite.

The report says states like North Dakota need to preserve grasslands to protect soil and water quality, but farm subsidies encourage farmers to turn grasslands into farms. Brad Redlin, with the Izaak Walton League, says the next Farm Bill should encourage farmers to preserve wild habitats and become "sodsavers."

"Sodsaver says that landowner can grow whatever crop they choose, but they will not be eligible for any USDA support payments."

Redlin says programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Grasslands Reserve Program are intended to protect marginal land but subsidies do the exact opposite. He believes the U.S. Department of Agriculture should stop rewarding farmers who convert grassland into farmland.

"It's not that the fact that they produce a bumper crop; it’s the fact that they have payments that will offset any risk that they are undertaking in producing on lands that just aren't very productive."

Redlin says over the last three centuries, half of the native grassland in the United States, nearly one billion acres, has been converted to human use -- primarily for growing crops.

The GAO study is available online, at

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - ND