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Fewer Trees in Iowa Because of Good Soil

CENTRAL CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Rarely is healthy soil a problem for trees. But in Iowa, a combination of land with high crop yields and one of the nations highest levels of privately owned property means more trees have been taken down.

So much of it is very good farm land, said Joe Wilkinson of the Iowa DNR. Thats why people moved here in the first place 150, 200 years ago.

Simply put, the land can be put to better use.

When farmers weigh harvesting trees against growing crops, its normally and easy decision.

The trouble is timber is a crop that pays off 50 or 60 or 80 years down the road, said Wilkinson.

Because it takes so long to grow a crop of trees, its just not economically beneficial to the farmer, said local farmer Curt Zingula.

The good think about corn is it provides an income every year for farmers. Trees are more of a long-term investment so the federal government tries to step in with money to help cover the cost.

You really need to have some income during that whole time that the crop is growing, said Zingula.

Zingula is one of the farmers who is going against the grain. Hes planted about 24 inches of trees on what used to be farmland.

Ive planted walnuts, oaks, cherries, something that will have some value down the road that I can cash in on when Im looking for a nursing home, said Zingula.

The different is Zingula can wait for his timber payday. Its a luxury many other farmers may not have.
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