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We used estimates of yield loss from 1995 to 1999 and the reported costs and effectiveness of available control methods to provide a basis for developing a cost-effective management strategy for Belding’s ground squirrels in alfalfa in northern California. Mean annual losses varied between US$110/ha and US$300/ha of alfalfa. Growers usually spend less than US$25/ha on control methods that are implemented haphazardly and provide poor control. We suggest that growers can afford to spend more on control methods such as burrow fumigation or exclusion fencing that previously have been viewed as being too expensive. Control efforts should be focused on new fields supporting low-density populations.