Going Green

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Farm Program Balancing Act

Policy makers face a daunting task in their need to balance food security/cheap food programs with efforts at environmentally conscious conservation programs that will assure sustainability. This lengthy report discusses the issue and possible approaches to a solution.

Integrating Commodity and Conservation Programs: Design Options and Outcomes

By Roger Claassen, Marcel Aillery, and Cynthia Nickerson

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-44) 61 pp, October 2007

Can a single program support farm income and encourage producers to adopt environmentally sound farming practices? While simple in concept, attempting to roll the farm income support features of existing commodity programs and conservation payments into a single program raises questions. Exactly how would farm commodity and conservation payments be combined? What difference would it make for environmental gain and farm income support? This report approaches the questions in two ways. First, spending patterns in existing commodity and conservation programs are analyzed to determine the extent to which producers who are currently receiving commodity payments also receive conservation payments. Then, a number of hypothetical program scenarios are devised and analyzed to estimate how emphasis on current income support recipients would differ from a combined program that focuses on achieving...(complete article here with links).

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