Top Ten Design Elements to Achieve More Efficient Conservation Programs

Prof. David Zilberman, University of California at Berkley and Prof. Kathleen Segerson, University of Connecticut

This paper examines how conservation programs for agriculture provide significant social and environmental benefits.  However, given budget constraints and pressures to increase production, conservation programs must further evolve to maximize effectiveness at the lowest possible cost to the American taxpayer.  This paper provides a “Top 10” list of improvements that could be made to Conservation programs in order to get the biggest bang for the buck, both for taxpayers and the environment.

Economic and Environmental Effects of Agricultural Insurance Programs

Prof. Daniel A. Sumner, University of California at Davis and Prof. Carl Zulauf, Ohio State University

This paper stems from the evolution of crop insurance over the past decade to become the most important subsidized farm safety net program in U.S. farm policy.  With the impending elimination of direct payments in the commodity programs, crop and revenue insurance will serve as the primary support for domestic agriculture.  However, certain design elements of agricultural insurance programs may result in less diversification of crops, expanded planting on marginal land, and increased potential for adverse environmental effects of farming.

Examining the Relationship of Conservation Compliance and Farm Program Incentives

Prof. Otto Doering, Purdue University and Katherine Smith, American Farmland Trust

This paper reviews the historical context of the Conservation Compliance farm program, and its impact on both farmers and civil society. The paper discusses the incentive structure of the modern conservation compliance system and highlights the risks and dynamics associated with changing this structure. 

Implications of a Reduced Conservation Reserve Program

Prof. JunJie Wu and Prof. Bruce Weber of Oregon State University

This paper provides an analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of a reduced Conservation Reserve Program.  The current context of federal budget constraints, coupled with historically high commodity prices, has led to scrutiny of the program.  However, the paper points out that there should be an equally robust discussion of the macro-economic relationships between strong conservation reserve programs and economic well-being.  Furthermore, the authors examine the historical relationship between the CRP and the conditions of rural communities, recreation and the environment.