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This handbook was prepared by the Economic Research Service (ERS), the
economic and social science research agency of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. ERS's mission is to provide economic and other social
science information and analysis for public and private decisions on
agriculture, food, natural resources, and rural America.

Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 1996-97.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Natural Re-
sources and Environment Division. Agricultural Handbook No. 712.


This report identifies trends in land, water, and commercial input use, reports on the condition of natural resources used in the agricultural sector, and describes and assesses public policies that affect conservation and environmental quality in agriculture. Combining data and information, this report examines the complex connections among farming practices, conservation, and the environment, which are increasingly important components in U.S. agriculture and farm policy. The report also examines the economic factors that affect resource use and, when data permit, estimates the costs and benefits (to farmers, consumers, and the government) of meeting conservation and environmental goals. The report takes stock of how natural resources (land and water) and commercial inputs (energy, nutrients, pesticides, and machinery) are used in the agricultural sector; shows how they contribute to environmental quality; and links use and quality to technological change, production practices, and farm programs.

Washington, DC 20005-4788

July 1997

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