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Agriculture, the Environment, and the Farm Bill
February 7, 2007
RFF First Wednesday Seminar
The First Wednesday Seminar series kicks off 2007 with a hard look at one of the most contentious issues in American politics: the Farm Bill and its possible implications for the environment. As the time draws near for reauthorization, and while politicians, lobbyists, and farmers consider what should be kept, discarded, or expanded, our panel of experts will focus on this more nuanced - but very serious - aspect of the debate.
What are the links between the Farm Bill and the environment? Will things be better or worse with the proposed new Bill? Should farmers be paid for caring for the environment? Our panel will explore these questions, and also turn an eye to lessons the United States could learn from the agricultural policy experiences of other countries, discussing what has worked, what hasn't, and why.
 
Event Video
 
Introduction
Phil Sharp
President, Resources for the Future
Moderator
Juha Siikamäki
Fellow, Resources for the Future
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Siikamäki's research focuses on environmental policy analysis, in particular, the benefits, costs, and design of biological conservation policies related to forestry and agriculture. He is interested in understanding, modeling, and predicting choice behavior and decision making, especially for valuing the preferences of households, landowners, and other decision makers for different policy programs. Recently, he has scrutinized conservation policy alternatives for Finland; evaluated the status of biodiversity and its conservation in the U.S.; analyzed methods for systematic planning of endangered species protection; and examined incentives and barriers to the redevelopment of industrial brownfields for public uses. He belongs to the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. He received his M. Sc. in Agricultural Economics and Policy from the University of Helsinki, and his M. Sc. in Agricultural and Resource Economics and Ph. D. in Environmental Policy Analysis from the University of California, Davis.
Marca Weinberg
Chief, Resources and Environmental Policy Branch, Economic Research Service, USDA
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Weinberg's branch activities focus on estimating costs, benefits, and distributional implications of policy design options for addressing the environmental impacts of agricultural production, and of the non-commodity services agriculture provides. The policy perspective for this research includes conservation programs authorized in Federal farm legislation, such as the Conservation and Wetlands Reserve Programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and Conservation Compliance, as well as Federal environmental legislation, such as the Clean Water Act, with potential implications for agricultural production. Current projects include analysis of conservation programs for working lands, multi-media aspects of animal waste management, linkages between land use change and the environment, and multi-objective decisionmaking in an agri-environmental context. Weinberg's research background and expertise also include western water issues, such as water quality–quantity tradeoffs, federal water policy reform, and the economic implications of the Federal Endangered Species Act as applied to species dependent on riverine ecosystems, as well as spatial land use issues, particularly as applied to wetlands management.
Kaush Arha
Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University
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Arha practices law in Washington, DC with the firm Latham & Watkins LLP. Arha is presently directing the National Forum on U.S. Agricultural Policy: Conserving Economic Resilience and Ecological Integrity of American Farmlands. The Forum is sponsored by Stanford University, American Farmland Trust, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Yale University. In 2005, Arha steered the National Forum on Endangered Species Act and Federalism: Effective Species Conservation Through Greater State Commitment. From 1997 to 2002, Arha directed the Private Lands Public Wildlife Conservation Program for the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission and was the special policy adviser to the Commission on conserving threatened and endangered species within the state. He received his M.Sc. in Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science, from University of California, Berkeley and his J.D. from Stanford University. He is an alum of the Boone & Crockett Fellows at the Boone & Crockett Wildlife Conservation Program at the University of Montana.
Sandra S. Batie
Elton R. Smith Professor in Food and Agricultural Policy, Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State
University
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Batie has had a distinguished career as an economic policy analyst, specializing in natural resource, agro-environmental, and agricultural policy issues at both the federal and state levels. She chaired the National Academy of Science project that culminated in the 1993 book Soil and Water Quality: An Agenda for Agriculture. Prior to joining the MSU faculty, Batie was at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She has also had two sabbatic leaves, the first with The Conservation Foundation and the second with the National Governors Association, both located in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Oregon State University. She is past President and Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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