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Abstract

Increasing recognition of the environmental impact of agriculture has led to increasing public activity around the world encouraging public conservation programs. Different countries have taken different program approaches to accomplish this. The comparison and contrast here is between Australia and the United States, examining the CREP program in the U.S. and the Eco Tender program in Australia. A different historical experience in the U.S. sets certain parameters that are expected in their conservation programs. To some extent, the Australian program could take more of a clean slate approach. The Australian program is able to take a broader landscape approach, specifically considering multiple benefits with knowledge about off-site benefits as well. This is tied into a structured auction process that does not allow gaming of the auction process. While the U.S. approach does include a bidding process, its structure is such that it has characteristics of an incentive program. The U.S. approach also gives less incentive to farmers to provide environmental amenities at the lowest possible cost. Taking off-site impacts into consideration and finding ways to induce competition among farmers to provide amenities at the lowest cost to the public are seen as important characteristics of cost effective conservation programs.

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