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Impacts of Changing Agri-Environmental Policy on Countryside Conservation

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Abstract

Utilizing area-based agri-environmental programs, our work involves focus groups and interviews with program managers, landowners, and elected officials to assess the impact of on-farm managerial interventions on broader countryside conservation issues. Initially, two areas were compared: The Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program (NY) and the High Weald Land Management Initiative (England). The organizing principle for this research is that the British experience with countryside management provides crucial insight from which New York agricultural and environmental interests can benefit. For example, one difference is that contributions and challenges of land management by farmers in England are understood and discussed by a much wider set of agricultural and community interests than in the U.S. Yet in New York (and most of the Northeast) changes in agriculture have played out on the landscape (i.e., countryside) but with far less discussion about other nonfood, public benefits derived from the working landscape. Better understanding the British view of countryside as “lived-in landscapes” that are protected through positive managerial incentives for farmers may provide important insights for New York agricultural, community, and environmental stakeholders. Adopting a British approach to land management, explicitly taking into account the cultural and political realities in the Northeast, could help New York communities be more responsive to overall community environmental management.

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WP 2003-06 February 2003

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Funding for this project was provided by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Hatch Project NYC147805.

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2003-02

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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

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