More than 124 governmental entities concerned about suburban sprawl and farmland loss have implemented farmland preservation programs preserving 1.67 million acres at a cost of $3.723 billion. Yet little analysis on these programs' effectiveness in slowing farmland loss has been conducted. Using a unique 50-year 269 county panel data set on preservation programs and farmland loss for six Mid-Atlantic States, we employ the propensity score matching method to find strong empirical evidence that these programs have had a statistically significant effect on the rate of farmland loss. Preservation programs on average decrease the rate of farmland loss by 3 percentage points; a 43% decrease from the average rate of 7.31%.


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