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The uncertain future of the Conservation Reserve Program has created substantial interest for agricultural producers, rural businesses, community leaders, sportsmen, and wildlife organizations. Many regions of the upper Great Plains have participated heavily in the CRP as evidenced by program acreage reaching land enrollment limits; however, current enrollment and re-enrollment criterion are expected to substantially reduce CRP acreage in many parts of the Great Plains. The divergence of interests between pursing post-CRP lands for agricultural production versus retaining the wildlife habitat and wildlife populations supported on CRP lands presents land owners and agricultural producers with important land management decisions over the next several years. This research examines the regional economic implications of post-CRP land use among traditional agricultural uses, wildlife production, and multiple-use practices. Of particular interest is whether multiple-use management on post-CRP lands can produce similar returns to landowners and producers as traditional land uses, and determine the effects of multiple-use management on post-CRP lands on regional economic output. A multiple-use system implemented on post-CRP lands based primarily on beef grazing while producing corn and barley for forage and retaining a portion of acreage in dedicated wildlife habitat would not compete economically with other conventional land uses. The net change in gross receipts within the regional economy from agricultural uses of post-CRP lands exceeded lost recreational expenditures in all scenarios evaluated.


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