Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Geography and Geology

Document Type



This study examines the impact of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) on fourteen Kentucky counties. The CREP program is an advancement of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which began nationally in 1985. The primary intention of both programs is to improve water quality and reduce soil erosion. Thus, in order to stimulate conservation efforts, farmers are given an opportunity to remove land from current production and still reap financial benefits. When CREP was introduced to Kentucky in 2002, the program provided far more lucrative incentives than the parent program. In 2007 CREP underwent an amendment process that broadened the definition of eligible land and enhanced financial benefits. Economic theory would suggest that, holding everything else constant, increasing financial benefits and initiating incentives should increase the acreage enrollment. My specific goal is to determine if the enhanced program has had the theoretically and statistically predicted positive affect on acreage enrollment. Preliminary results suggest that in fact there was a statistically significant increase in the mean number of acres enrolled in conservation programs in Kentucky after 2002. A complete economic analysis includes both costs and benefits, thus water quality and erosion data are needed. These data are not accessible because of the newness of the program, but will provide a great avenue for continual research.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Michelle W. Trawick, Roy Howsen


Geology | Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources and Conservation | Other Earth Sciences | Soil Science