A dynamic analysis of the crop productivity impacts of soil erosion: an application to the Piedmont area of Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This study was born out of the desire to analyze the complex soil management problem faced by individual economic agents as well as society. The focus of this study, however, was on the theoretical formulation and estimation of partial equilibrium dynamic economic models directed toward optimizing the private use of the soil resource. In particular, four empirical representative farm models were formulated.

Solutions to the four representative farm models showed that sizable reductions in topsoil loss, which contributes to non-point source pollution, and aggravates the crop productivity impacts of soil erosion, can be accomplished by adopting alternative support practices. Because of the change in support practices, reductions in the present value of net returns are expected, but this decrease in return was found to be minimal when compared to reductions in topsoil loss. Policy implications as well as several policy recommendations stemming from those results, with respect to soil conservation, are outlined and analyzed.