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Abstract

Using county-level panel data, we estimate duration models to study the timing of rapid farmland conversion events. Results suggest that income and the proximity to major highways are the principal determinants of rapid conversion events (and also responsible for prolonging these events). In particular, an increase in income of 1% is found to hasten the time to a rapid conversion event by 111% and to extend the time back to a slow state of conversion by 76%. On the other hand, valuable agricultural land and high property taxes extend the time to a rapid conversion event (and also hasten the time back to a slow state of conversion). An increase in the value of agricultural production per acre extends the time to a rapid conversion event by 14% and hastens the time to a slow state of conversion by 106%. Knowledge about the timing of rapid farmland conversion will help counties to better predict infrastructure needs and take steps to mitigate the traffic and environmental impacts.

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