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Abstract

The impact of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grass and wetland easements on agricultural land values across three counties in the Prairie Pothole Region of South Dakota were determined by comparing the sale prices of 38 easement encumbered properties sold between 1994 and 2000 across 9 counties in South Dakota, with hypothetical fee simple sale prices calculated using land values from comparable sales without easements. On average grass/wetland easements reduced sale prices by 6.6 percent. Alternatively, 60 percent of properties had reduced sale prices attributed to easements. However, almost 95 percent of sellers were more than sufficiently compensated for reduced sale prices by earlier USFWS easement payments and average net impacts to sellers of easement encumbered land was a positive 30 percent.

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