Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-778) 60 pp

May 1999

Economic Valuation of Environmental Benefits and the Targeting of Conservation Programs: The Case of the CRP

The range of environmental problems confronting agriculture has expanded in recent years. As the largest program designed to mitigate the negative environmental effects of agriculture, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has broadened its initial focus on reductions in soil erosion to consider other landscape factors that may also be beneficial. For example, preserving habitats can help protect wildlife, thus leading to more nature-viewing opportunities. This report demonstrates how nonmarket valuation models can be used in targeting conservation programs such as the CRP.

Keywords: Conservation Reserve Program, soil erosion, Environmental Benefits Index, valuation-based targeting

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