Temporary Land Retirement as an Agri-Environmental Policy Tool


This paper examines literature on sustainable agriculture with consideration of the broader sustainable development movement as a whole. In this light, existing data on the Conservation Reserve Program is considered, as an example of land retirement programs, in order to determine such programs’ contributions to the overall sustainability of agriculture. The paper attempts to determine the utility of land retirement as an agri-environmental policy tool, by examining the costs, benefits, and criticisms associated with the Conservation Reserve Program. Economic valuation models and their limitations, producer decision-making processes, and other agri-environmental policy tools are also briefly discussed. The author concludes that land retirement programs have been proven to have both environmental and economic benefits, whether or not they have been fully quantified to date. These programs can be improved and expanded upon to further address environmental concerns. In the short term, they should be utilized in concert with education, technical assistance, and research to further educate and assist producers in farming sustainably while constantly searching for still more sustainable alternatives.


Agricultural and Resource Economics

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