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Abstract

This paper presents an application of matching on propensity score to evaluate the impact of the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) on farmers' willingness to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). One goal of the CBP is to reduce agricultural nutrient loadings to Chesapeake Bay. Achievement of this goal will require increased farm adoption of conservation practices to limit and reduce the levels of residual nutrients the bay. One expectation of this investigation is that the CBP's agricultural related research and educational outreach programs directed to the farm community has a positive effect on farmers' willingness to enroll in conservation programs. Furthermore, the CBP funding to support county watershed technicians who assist farm operators with adoption of conservation practices is expected to also have a positive impact on farmers' willingness to enroll in EQIP. EQIP is the leading federal conservation program for cost-share funding for structural, vegetative, and land management practices to reduce agricultural non-point source pollution. The study is limited in scope. The analysis is conducted over one state, Pennsylvania, and analyzes the impact of the CBP only on one program, EQIP. The study is not presented as a comprehensive evaluation of the CBP's impact on all farm conservation programs administered within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However, the estimation method used for this study can be extended to other farm conservation programs.

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