Do Agricultural Preservation Programs And Preferential Property Tax Programs Affect Farmland Conversion?
This paper examines the impact of having a preservation program on the rate of farmland loss for a 50 year period (1949-1997) in six Mid-Atlantic States: Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Because farmland loss is affected by changing agricultural profitability, demand for land for non-agricultural purposes, and farmers' alternative employment opportunities, we include variables to control for these factors as well. Because a high rate of farmland loss may actually be the reason a county or state begins a preservation program, we need to determine if this endogeniety is causing biased and inconsistent results. If farmland preservation programs are only in counties with a high rate of farmland loss, then we need to establish what might have been the farmland loss rate if the program had not existed to determine if the program is having an impact.
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