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In the Long Run: USDA Conservation Spending on Working Agricultural Lands Bucks Long-Term Trend

USDA provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers implement conservation practices on working agricultural lands or on lands temporarily retired from production. As measured in constant (2009) dollars, Federal conservation assistance has fluctuated widely during the past 60 years. Rapid increases in spending have typically been associated with large-scale land retirement in the Soil Bank (1956-1972) and Conservation Reserve (1986-present) Programs. Since 2002, however, and after several decades with stable levels of spending, there has been a big increase in conservation assistance through programs that help farmers defray conservation costs on working agricultural lands.