Economic evaluation of alternative agricultural resources conservation policies Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dv13zw31v

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  • The agriculture production system in the post-war United States is characterized as highly specialized and increasingly dependent on off-farm inputs. Although the US has traditionally supported agriculture with numerous government commodity programs such as target prices, nonrecourse loans, and deficiency payments, agriculture today is perceived as one of the major sources of environmental degradation. In this thesis research, the conservation compliance provision in the Food Security Act of 1985 and 1990, as well as various other conservation policy alternatives, are evaluated for five representative farms in terms of its effectiveness in preserving the agricultural resources and protecting the environment. Highly erodible lands in Western Oregon is the study area of this thesis since the agricultural lands are used for the production of a variety of crops and are considered susceptible to environmental damage. The conservation compliance provision performs fairly well in reducing soil erosion and protecting water quality. But its performance depends on the characteristics of the representative farms. Alternative policies are found to be more cost effective in reducing these externalities, although no single policy is the most cost-effective for all types of farms in reducing all environmental outputs. Trade-offs exist between net return and environmental output production as well as among environmental externalities. The nature of the environmental externalities such as nonpoint source pollution and the uncertain parameters for biosimulation and economic models are limiting features of the study.
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