The Conservation Reserve Program: Economic Implications for Rural America

112 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2004

See all articles by Patrick Sullivan

Patrick Sullivan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division

LeRoy Hansen

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Robert Johansson

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Steven Koenig

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Ruben N. Lubowski

Environmental Defense Fund

William D. McBride

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

David A. McGranahan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Michael J. Roberts

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Stephen J. Vogel

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Shawn Bucholz

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

This report estimates the impact that high levels of enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have had on economic trends in rural counties since the program's inception in 1985 until today. The results of a growth model and quasi-experimental control group analysis indicate no discernible impact by the CRP on aggregate county population trends. Aggregate employment growth may have slowed in some high-CRP counties, but only temporarily. High levels of CRP enrollment appear to have affected farm-related businesses over the long run, but growth in the number of other nonfarm businesses moderated CRP's impact on total employment. If CRP contracts had ended in 2001, simulation models suggest that roughly 51 percent of CRP land would have returned to crop production, and that spending on outdoor recreation would decrease by as much as $300 million per year in rural areas. The resulting impacts on employment and income vary widely among regions having similar CRP enrollments, depending upon local economic conditions.

Keywords: Conservation Reserve Program, CRP, rural development, rural employment, land retirement impacts, land-use changes, recreation spending

Suggested Citation

Sullivan, Patrick and Hellerstein, Daniel and Hansen, LeRoy Thomas and Johansson, Robert and Koenig, Steven and Lubowski, Ruben N. and McBride, William D. and McGranahan, David A. and Roberts, Michael James and Vogel, Stephen J. and Bucholtz, Shawn, The Conservation Reserve Program: Economic Implications for Rural America (September 2004). USDA-ERS Agricultural Economic Report No. 834. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=614511 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.614511

Patrick Sullivan (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5340 (Phone)

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5613 (Phone)
202-694-5756 (Fax)

LeRoy Thomas Hansen

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E St., SW
Washington, DC 20036-5831
United States
202-694-5612 (Phone)

Robert Johansson

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5485 (Phone)

Steven Koenig

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

Ruben N. Lubowski

Environmental Defense Fund ( email )

New York, Nat'l Headquarters
257 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
United States

William D. McBride

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5577 (Phone)

David A. McGranahan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5356 (Phone)

Michael James Roberts

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5557 (Phone)

Stephen J. Vogel

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service ( email )

1400 Independence Ave., SW
Mail Stop 1800
Washington, DC 20250-1800
United States
202-694-5368 (Phone)

Shawn Bucholtz

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5013 (Phone)

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