Environmental Studies Program

 

Date of this Version

Fall 12-2011

Abstract

Annually 17 tons of soil is lost due to the erosion of agriculture land. A majority of the soil lost is fertile topsoil, which can render the land unproductive. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was enacted to reduce the high erosion rates on agriculture land by giving landowners a monetary incentive to let their land lay idle and allow the soil to regenerate. Although there is awareness of the benefits of CRP, little effort has been put toward delineating CRP eligible land. In this project, Geographical Information Systems were used to map CRP eligible land in Lancaster County, Nebraska based on guidelines set by the Farm Service Agency. Also, this project determined the point where it becomes profitable to enroll in CRP based on current yields and input costs. It was found that at current commodity prices it is more profitable to leave land in production. However, when landowners are considering CRP the maps can aid them in their decision and give them an estimate of their price per acre. It can also be of use to the FSA when deciding what land should have priority. To continue this study it would be useful to repeat it over all the counties in Nebraska to ensure the long-term productivity of the state.