A welfare evaluation of post-Conservation Reserve Program alternatives



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Texas Tech University


The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a long-term (10 year) cropland retirement program with natural resource, conservation, and farm income support goals. CRP enrollment totals 36.53 million acres nationally. Texas enrollment totals 4.12 million acres, with 3.12 million acres in the Texas High Plains Region (THPR). Future policy regarding CRP lands will impact CRP land owners, the federal budget, environmental quality, and soil erosion levels. The effect of post-CRP policy on environmental quality and soil erosion should be considered along with the net governmental costs and land owner benefits in determining the appropriate policy toward CRP lands when the current contracts expire.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impacts of specified post-CRP policy alternatives by combining the interest of agricultural producers, land owners, consumers, and environmental quality in a welfare economics framework. The study area chosen for this study was Hale County, Texas. Hale County is located in the central part of the THPR. CRP enrollment in Hale County totals 99,161 acres with an average annual rental rate of $40 per acre. The reduction in crop base acres totaled 91,230 acres for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, and wheat.



Soil conservation, Rural, Land use, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)