The Conservation Reserve Program, which maintains farmland out of production (including 34.6 million acres in 2007) by paying rent on land that farmers agreed to keep idle, is a net benefit to the United States economy. It provides (very approximately) $8.4 billion in net present value to the country, mostly through conserving natural resources such as topsoil and water quality. The rental payments and many of the indirect benefits accrue to rural communities, especially farmers, but there are significant ecological benefits for the country as a whole. There is little evidence that benefits measurably accrue at
the county level. In the future CRP should focus on reducing transaction costs (which are higher than those for most USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service programs) and on expanding programs that permit farmers to enroll while continuing to farm their land.
Kale, Nathaniel. A Brief Economic Survey of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program. April 20 2009. Hubert H Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
professional paper in fulfillment of the masters of urban and regional planning degree
A Brief Economic Survey of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
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