The use of emergency, disaster, and other ad hoc sources of income support to American farmers escalated dramatically between 1991 and 2002, increasing year-to-year uncertainty about the magnitude and distribution of farm program benefits. Ad hoc payment mechanisms, while meeting needs now apparently unsatisfied by other farm programs, have the potential to substitute for or conflict with agri-environmental and conservation program goals. Federal budget constraints likely make continued growth in ad hoc payment schemes unsustainable, raising questions about what will take their place. There is ample room for new research on how alternative farm program approaches and program combinations interact to affect stewardship behavior and associated agri-environmental outcomes.


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