The Missouri River dams, riverside development, and changing land use are eliminating our prairie cottonwood forests. The Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs conservation plans could protect those cottonwood stands, among other things.

But growing global demand livestock could clobber cottonwoods and conservation, according to SDSU crop business expert Kim Dillivan:

World coarse grain trade is expected to increase 27 percent during the decade, with most of this increase accounted for by corn which he said is projected to be 80 percent of coarse grain trade in 2022.

...Assuming corn growers in other states continue to produce the same share of our nation’s corn, and the U.S. exports 20.3 more MMT in 2022/23 than today, South Dakota will need to increase production by almost 40 million bushels — 7.5 percent of 2012 production — just to meet the increase in export demand. This increase does not account for any change in corn demand because of expanded livestock exports.

Since 2011, global trade of soybeans and soybean products has been larger than trade in wheat or coarse grains.

..."Assuming soybean growers in other states continue to produce the same share of our nation’s soybeans, and the U.S. exports 2.6 MMT more soybeans in 2022/23 than today, South Dakota will need to increase production by 4.5 million bushels — a little more than 3 percent of 2012 production," Dillivan said ["Expert: SD Must Increase Corn Production to Meet Demand," Yankton Press and Dakotan, 2013.10.13].

If the market and certain Republicans have their way, South Dakota will be nothing but one giant federally-subsidized factory farm... at least until SDSU figures out how to turn cottonwoods into cattle feed.