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UDaily: AgVISE determining best way to set cost-share rates for farmers' conservation work

UDaily: AgVISE determining best way to set cost-share rates for farmers' conservation work

Imagine if Priceline or eBay took over U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and farmers could set their own prices for conservation efforts. Four hundred farmers had the chance to do just that in 2014 through the University of Delaware’s Agricultural Values, Innovation, and Stewardship Enhancement (AgVISE) project. AgVISE is a research project that gives farmers the opportunity to set their own cost-share amounts for voluntary nutrient management practices rather than the government setting what they should pay.

The project was a great success, researchers said, and is being replicated this year with an available payout of $100,000, more than double the original study’s funding. Most Delaware agricultural landowners are invited to participate, and landowners earn at least $50 just by completing a short survey.

In most conservation programs, government administrators set the cost-share amounts. The AgVISE project, funded by the USDA, will determine if letting farmers set their own cost-share may be a better way to manage federal conservation payouts.