USDA: 50 percent of western rangelands have non-native species

A report on western rangelands came out recently.
A report on western rangelands came out recently.
Farm equipment users in the western part of the country may be interested in a new study recently release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report focuses on non-federal rangeland and shows that less than 25 percent of these areas exhibited significant degradation. However, it also shows that non-native species exist in 50 percent of the parcels studied.

"This new study not only provides valuable information about the current state of these lands, but also sets a baseline that will enable USDA to make our conservation efforts more effective and efficient in the future," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

More than 10,000 field plots were examined to complete the study, which used the National Resources Inventory. The NRI is a statistical survey that covers a variety of data.

For years, the USDA has sponsored conservation efforts across the country, including renting farmland to restore native habitats. It also provides opportunities for minority and beginning farmers who are looking for land.

Many of the department's conservation efforts are overseen by the Farm Service Agency, which also helps producers in times of need.