TopicsTopics

Stay Connected

Follow ERS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Subscribe to ERS e-Newsletters.aspx
Listen to ERS podcasts
Read ERS blogs at USDA

Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy

by Marc Ribaudo, Jorge Delgado, LeRoy Hansen, Michael Livingston, Roberto Mosheim, and James Williamson

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-127) 89 pp, September 2011

err127 cover image Nitrogen is an important agricultural input that is critical for crop production. However, the introduction of large amounts of nitrogen into the environment has a number of undesirable impacts on water, terrestrial, and atmospheric resources. This report explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agriculture and assesses changes in nutrient management by farmers that may improve nitrogen use efficiency. It also reviews a number of policy approaches for improving nitrogen management and identifies issues affecting their potential performance. Findings reveal that about two-thirds of U.S. cropland is not meeting three criteria for good nitrogen management related to the rate, timing, and method of application. Several policy approaches, including financial incentives, nitrogen management as a condition of farm program eligibility, and regulation, could induce farmers to improve their nitrogen management and reduce nitrogen losses to the environment.

Keywords: Reactive nitrogen, nitrogen management, fertilizer, water quality, greenhouse gas, economic incentives, conservation policy, regulation

In this publication...

Need help with PDFs?

Last updated: Sunday, May 27, 2012

For more information contact: Marc Ribaudo, Jorge Delgado, LeRoy Hansen, Michael Livingston, Roberto Mosheim, and James Williamson

Share or Save this Page