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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center » Research » Research Project #442642

Research Project: The Association Between the Conservation Reserve Program, Extreme Weather, Water Quality, and Economic Development in the Southern Plains

Location: Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center

Project Number: 3070-12610-001-005-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

This project has three primary objectives, all of which focus on the counties within the three states comprising the Southern Plains from 2000 to 2020: First, we will update and extend prior USDA research by evaluating how extreme weather events such as drought and floods have been associated with changes in CRP/CREP enrollment. Second, we will compare CRP/CREP enrollment by USDA-ERS county dependency classification to assess whether or not enrollment varies by local economic structure. Third, we will assess the relationship between the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and its sub-program the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and water quality and local government spending on water treatment. This objective is anchored in the idea that CRP/CREP leases lead to improved water inputs to local water treatment plants, thus reducing water treatment costs and freeing up government money for other activities which may catalyze economic development. If this hypothesis is true, it will provide valuable information for incentivizing increased local support of agricultural set-aside programs.

Our project will be conducted through the collaboration with cooperators with a broad set of skills relevant to the activities proposed. Together, our team will work with the graduate student funded through this proposal to build a county-level dataset from 2000 to 2020 for Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This dataset will include socioeconomic data from the Census, county-area government spending data from the State and Local Government Finance Survey (SLGFS), water quality data from both the EPA and state agencies (as available), CRP/CREP data from the USDA, and drought and flood event data from the USDA and USGS.