Making soil conservation work

For the United States, both at home and in its role as a world agricultural leader, combating soil erosion is a complex problem with no pat or easy solution. Research for this series suggests, however, that an effective conservation program should include the following elements:

* Continuation of programs to encourage better soil conservation practices through education, technical assistance, and cost-sharing.

* More government funds to support such practices in areas with critical erosion problems.

* Encouragement of private groups such as the American Farmland Trust and the National Endowment for Soil & Water Conservation, which are mobilizing public support for soil-conservation efforts.

* Increased support for soil conservation research to develop practices that will raise farmers' profits in the short term as well as reap long-term benefits for society.

* Focus on exporting this new soil-conserving technology to third-world nations rather than on exporting grain.

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