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Publications

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36 publications, sorted by date 

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Amber Waves, July 01, 2013
Since USDA conservation programs are voluntary, farmers base their participation decisions on local conditions, among other factors, and those decisions are influenced by the level of local drought risk. This is a form of climate adaptation.
EB-20, November 14, 2012
Nitrogen is a critical input in agriculture, enabling farmers to produce high crop yields profitably. However, nitrogen compounds released into the environment are a source of environmental problems, including eutrophication and hypoxia in aquatic ecosystems, visibility-impairing haze, and the loss ...
EIB-99, September 04, 2012
This report relies on findings from several national surveys and current literature to assess water resource use and conservation measures within the U.S. irrigated crop sector. U.S. agriculture accounts for 80-90 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use (water lost to the environment by evapor...
EIB-98, August 22, 2012
Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012, describes trends in economic, structural, resource, and environmental indicators in the agriculture sector, focusing on changes since the release of Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2006. These indicators are useful to as...
EIB-94, March 14, 2012
In recent years, direct payments—a type of farm commodity program payment—have made up a large share of Federal agriculture assistance that could be withheld from farmers who fail to comply with highly erodible land conservation (conservation compliance and sodbuster) or wetland conservation (swampb...
Amber Waves, March 01, 2012
Growth in per capita income averaged about $600 higher in DRA-funded nonmetro counties in 2002-07 than in similarly distressed counties outside the region, mainly due to increased health and social services sector earnings and increased medical transfer payments.
Amber Waves, September 01, 2011
Federal farm programs, crop prices, and new technology may encourage farmers to extend crop production into native grasslands. A recent ERS study found that farm programs had a minor effect on conversions of grasslands to crop production.
ERR-120, June 30, 2011
Native grasslands in the U.S. Northern Plains, particularly those located in the Prairie Pothole Region, are excellent breeding habitat for migratory birds. The conversion of grassland to crop production could damage this habitat and affect bird populations. We focus on three questions: How fast are...
ERR-110, February 11, 2011
This report considers how increased commodity prices might influence enrollment in and benefits from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) using two complementary models: a likely-to-bid model that uses National Resources Inventory data to simulate offers to the general signup portion of the CRP an...
EIB-70, November 02, 2010
Most U.S. farmers prepare their soil for seeding and weed and pest control through tillage—plowing operations that disturb the soil. Tillage practices affect soil carbon, water pollution, and farmers’ energy and pesticide use, and therefore data on tillage can be valuable for understanding the pract...
ERR-98, June 11, 2010
The 2002 and 2008 Farm Acts increased funding for conservation programs that provide financial assistance to farmers to implement conservation practices on working farmland. Along with seeking cost-effective environmental benefits, these programs have a goal of spreading conservation funding equitab...
Amber Waves, June 01, 2010
Reductions in maximum CRP acres mandated by the 2008 Farm Act, along with relatively high agricultural commodity prices, could lead to reduced overall environmental benefits and higher program costs. Alternative enrollment policies and practices could increase benefits per enrolled acre and lower pr...
EIB-62, December 07, 2009
Beginning, limited-resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers make up as much as 40 percent of all U.S. farms. Some Federal conservation programs contain provisions that encourage participation by such “targeted” farmers and the 2008 Farm Act furthered these efforts. This report compares the natur...
EB-14, September 23, 2009
Agricultural Land Tenure and Carbon Offsets examines the potential role that land ownership might play in determining the agricultural sector’s involvement in carbon sequestration programs. By estimating the carbon sequestration potential of agricultural producers who own most of the land they opera...
TB-1922, September 19, 2008
This report describes data and methodologies that the Economic Research Service has used to apply monetary values to changes in soil erosion. Values and methodology are clearly described so that analysts can apply the data to specific soil conservation projects. ERS has used the values to estimate s...
ERR-64, September 02, 2008
U.S. farmers and ranchers produce a wide variety of commodities for food, fuel, and fiber in response to market signals. Farms also contain significant amounts of natural resources that can provide a host of environmental services, including cleaner air and water, flood control, and improved wildlif...
ERR-44, October 30, 2007
Can a single program support farm income and encourage producers to adopt environmentally sound farming practices? While simple in concept, attempting to roll the farm income support features of existing commodity programs and conservation payments into a single program raises questions. Exactly how...
EIB-24, June 01, 2007
U.S. farms are diverse, ranging from small retirement and residential farms to enterprises with annual sales in the millions. Nevertheless, most U.S. farms—98 percent in 2004—are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms account for 10...
ERR-25, August 31, 2006
This report examines evidence on the relationship between agricultural land-use changes, soil productivity, and indicators of environmental sensitivity. If cropland that shifts in and out of production is less productive and more environmentally sensitive than other cropland, policy-induced changes ...
EIB-16, July 21, 2006
These chapters describe trends in resources used in and affected by agricultural production, as well as the economic conditions and policies that influence agricultural resource use and its environmental impacts. Each of the 28 chapters provides a concise overview of a specific topic with links to s...
EIB-14, May 31, 2006
This publication presents the results of the latest (2002) inventory of U.S. major land uses, drawing on data from the Census, public land management and conservation agencies, and other sources. The data are synthesized by State to calculate the use of several broad classes and subclasses of agricu...
ERR-19, May 31, 2006
Many of the Nation’s conservation programs use an index approach to prioritize environmental and cost objectives. In an index, objectives are weighted by relative importance. This report provides empirical evidence on the cost and environmental benefit tradeoffs of different weighting schemes in USD...
EB-1, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
EB-3, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
EB-4, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
EB-5, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
ERR-14, February 01, 2006
This report examines the business, operator, and household characteristics of farms that have adopted certain conservation-compatible practices, with and without financial assistance from government conservation programs. The analysis finds that attributes of the farm operator and household and char...
AER-815, April 28, 2005
Investigates the relative importance of preserving different amenities conserved by farmland protection programs. Examines farmland protection program enabling legislation in the 48 contiguous States, and implementation of these programs in five Northeastern States.
AER-834, October 08, 2004
This report estimates the impact that high levels of enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have had on economic trends in rural counties since the program’s inception in 1985 until today. The results of a growth model and quasi-experimental control group analysis indicate no discernib...
AER-832, May 28, 2004
Since 1985, U.S. agricultural producers have been required to practice soil conservation on highly erodible cropland and conserve wetlands as a condition of farm program eligibility. This report discusses the general characteristics of compliance incentives, evaluates their effectiveness in reducing...
AIB-782, March 03, 2003
This report documents the problem of water scarcity in parts of northern China and describes China's agricultural water management policies as well as reforms underway to encourage water conservation.
AER-794, January 25, 2001
Agri-environmental policy is at a crossroads. Over the past 20 years, a wide range of policies addressing the environmental implications of agricultural production have been implemented at the Federal level. Those policies have played an important role in reducing soil erosion, protecting and restor...
AER-792, January 01, 2001
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Area Studies Project was designed to characterize the extent of adoption of nutrient, pest, soil, and water management practices and to assess the factors that affect adoption for a wide range of management strategies across different natural resource regions. The ...
AER-778, May 13, 1999
The range of environmental problems confronting agriculture has expanded in recent years. As the largest program designed to mitigate the negative environmental effects of agriculture, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has broadened its initial focus on reductions in soil erosion to consider ot...
AER-744, November 29, 1996
Property rights arise out of law, custom, and the operation of private markets, with important implications for how land and other natural resources are used and conserved. Over the past several years, debate about the nature and scope of property rights has combined with budget concerns and reautho...
SB-925, November 01, 1995
This report is fifth in an ERS series summarizing CRP participation. Finds that more than 36 million acres were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in signup periods 1-12, held during 1986-92. This acreage includes over 23 million commodity program base acres and nearly 2.5 million tr...

Last updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012

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