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Abstract

In recent years, the Federal government has placed more emphasis on working-land conservation programs. Farmers can be reimbursed for adopting certain conservation practices, such as the installation of in-field or perimeter conservation structures, to enhance water quality and soil productivity. In an effort to better understand the relationships between operator motivations, program incentives, and the environmental benefits of conservation programs, a multi-agency survey, the Conservation Effects Assessment Project-Agricultural Resources Management Survey (CEAP-ARMS), was conducted in 2004 across 16 states representing more than one-million farmers growing wheat. The nationally representative survey integrates Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) data on field-level physical characteristics, program information, farm-level costs of production, and farm household information. This objective of this paper is twofold. First, using the CEAP-ARMS, farm structure, household, and operator characteristics of farmers participating in one or more conservation programs are compared with farmers not participating in a conservation program. Second, an impact model is specified to test whether program participants allocated more acres to in-field or perimeter conservation structures than nonparticipants, holding other factors constant. Evidence suggests that program participants allocate more field acres to vegetative conservation structures than nonparticipants with in-field or perimeter conservation structures.

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