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Abstract

Major agri-environmental programs tried in the United Kingdom (UK)since the mid-1980s are examined in this report. Special attention is given to the Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme, the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS), and schemes to promote organic agriculture-first the Organic Aid Scheme and, following that, the Organic Farming Scheme. Several major studies and reviews of these and other agri-environmental schemes in England, Scotland, and Wales have been conducted in recent years. These studies and reviews are drawn upon to examine both the successes and shortcomings of various schemes in drawing farmers into more environmentally sound farming practices and systems. In conducting this review and examination, primary attention is given to farmers' income, risk reduction, and stewardship goals. Contextual factors given special attention include the following: prices and access to markets; technologies; the structure of agriculture; and social and human capital. Lessons for future agri-environmental strategies in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and the United States are derived from this review. The emerging 'multifunctionality' approach to agricultural policy is emphasized. Among the lessons are ones dealing with: legume-based rotations in arable areas; financial assistance to organic farmers beyond the transition period; continued reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy; possible merging of the ESA scheme and the CSS; extension/technical assistance nstitutions and strategy; and social and human capital for environmental change. Several issues and challenges in greatly expanding agri-environmental policies and making them more effective in the future are analyzed and explained. Those issues and challenges pertain to: the compatibility of production support and stewardship support policies; balancing stewardship support and 'environmental compliance'; opportunities for programs to contribute jointly to social and stewardship objectives; the compatibility of World Trade Organization rules with stewardship schemes; capitalization of scheme benefits into land values; how to gain from bottom-up planning and subsidiarity; and stewardship payments for farmers already practicing good stewardship.

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