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Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

Design, Practice and Results

image of Evaluating Agri-environmental Policies

These conference proceedings present a series of evaluations of agri-environmental policies in OECD countries.  They examine how effective the policies have been in achieving objectives and what policy makers have learned about the design and implementation of their policies. 

These proceedings show that different methods of policy evaluation are complementary. Most countries focus on evaluating the environmental effectiveness rather than the economic efficiency of policies, using physical indicators rather than monetary values. Many policies are achieving their environmental objectives, but are taking longer than originally anticipated. The initiative being taken in many countries to incorporate monitoring and data collection into programme design and implementation is a positive development.  But a number of steps need to be taken to improve the quality of evaluations, including the better articulation of policy goals and objectives, improving data quality and establishing baselines for comparison.

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Has Conservation Compliance Reduced Soil Erosion on US Cropland?

Conservation compliance, enacted as part of the 1985 Food Security Act, required farmers to apply approved conservation systems on highly erodible (HEL) cropland by 1995 or risk loss of all federal agricultural programme payments, including income support. Between 1982 and 1997, the annual rate of cropland soil erosion dropped by nearly 40%. What portion of this drop in cropland soil erosion can be attributed to conservation compliance? We analyse this question using existing data and a new method of linking soil erosion data from the National Resources Inventory (NRI) with data on farm programme participation and payments from the Agricultural Resources Management Survey (ARMS).

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