A Price to be Paid

When it comes to grain production, Iowa ranks high in several categories. For example, Iowa is 1st in the US in corn production and 2nd in soybean production. Almost 75% of the total acres in the state are planted to row crops.

Yes, Iowa has very productive soils and favorable climatic conditions for intensive row crop production. But there is a cost.
I remember my Dad talking about hunting Jackrabbits on weekends when he was young. He also talked about seeing Barn Owls. Now, it is challenging to find either species in Iowa. They can still be found but you need to talk to the right people to know where to look. Many other species have faced similar declines.

Returning to Iowa after 6 months in California was quite a let-down for me regarding wildlife photography. I have taken less photos during the last three weeks than I took in most afternoons in California. We have lost our diversity and quantity of animals, primarily due to the loss of habitat, replaced by grain production. Iowan’s have paid the price for intensive row crop production.

If you wish to learn more about Iowa’s wildlife at the time of settlement, I recommend reading “A Country So Full of Game: The Story of Wildlife in Iowa” by James Dinsmore.

The following three images represent my efforts since moving back to Iowa. They required a lot more patience.

A Mink pauses along a tributary to Willow Creek at Dunbar Slough, Greene County, IA. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 437 mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/320. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.
An Opossum in a small tree at Swan Lake State Park, Carroll County, IA. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 150mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/40. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.
A leucistic White-tailed Deer doe at Swan Lake State Park, Carroll County, IA. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 2500, f/8, 1/125. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

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