The 1996 farm bill challenges agricultural producers to pursue conservation objectives while allowing flexibility and reducing subsidies. The nature of this challenge for semi-arid rainfed, wind-erosion-prone agriculture is explored via a behavioral model. Simulations of farm-firm decision making under scenarios in the southern Texas High Plains are evaluated. Results indicate that the removal of subsidies, while lowering farm incomes, does not, under most assumptions, alter cropping system choice. Alternatively, under a variety of assumptions, the imposition of an erosion tax shuts down cropping.