Sustainable agricultural management contracts: Using choice experiments to estimate the benefits of land preservation and conservation practices
This paper describes the results of a choice experiment measuring social benefits for sustainable management practices and agricultural land preservation. Sustainable management is conceptualized with three illustrative practices that impact water quality, carbon sequestration, and soil erosion: fertilizing with a broiler litter product, expanding riparian buffers, and no-till cropping. Data for a choice experiment are collected using a mail survey of residents living near a large, unpreserved agricultural parcel in an urban-influenced area of Delaware. Results identify substantial benefits for land preservation, the use of broiler litter, and riparian buffers but not for conservation tillage. Results also suggest that the estimated household benefits of all three sustainable management practices combined are similar in magnitude to the benefits from land preservation alone. Based on model results, policy and future research may wish to examine possibilities for subsidizing sustainable management practices in urban-influenced areas as a more cost-effective means of providing benefits similar to those realized through land preservation.
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