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Improving Water Quality (3 of 3)

Overcoming Barriers to Better Targeting of U.S. Farm Conservation Funds

This issue brief identifies the technical, political, and implementation challenges of cost-effectively targeting agricultural conservation funds to achieve greater improvements in water quality and suggests options for addressing these challenges.

This publication is the third in a...

Overcoming Barriers to USDA’s New Conservation Program

For more than 30 years, the USDA has worked to reduce water pollution by offering farmers throughout the nation financial and technical help to put conservation measures in place. While these efforts have successfully addressed environmental problems at the individual farm level—such as soil erosion—agriculture remains a key source of water pollution.

However, it’s only a small portion of farms that generate the majority of agriculture’s contribution to U.S. water pollution. New research shows that targeting conservation funds to these farms with the most potential to reduce pollution could be up to 12 times more cost effective than the usual practice of disbursing funds widely. And encouragingly, a new USDA program aims to capitalize on a similar targeted approach.

Providing guidance on how to better target agricultural conservation in the United States, to cost-effectively achieve measurable improvements in water quality.

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