An Overview of Conservation and Agricultural Policy: Questions from the Past and Observations About the Present

This paper addresses conservation policies and conservation problem areas from the past and present. It begins with an overview of the challenges facing conservation during the 1930s and 1940s. The paper continues by tracking the emergence of the Soil Conservation Service. As SCS began taking over functions other agencies, turf battles began. SCS broadened its mission, leading to conflicts with extension, interior Forest Service, among other agencies. Conservation at that time was defined as what SCS decided to do. Gradually conservation districts developed and evolved, their importance and role in conservation and democracy intertwined. The issue of property rights emerged as some saw individual rights pitted against other people's proposition to use the land for soil conservation purposes. The final sections in the paper take the issues of conservation to the present and discuss the relevance of questions from the past to issues of present and future.

Otto Doering
DeKalb, IL: American Farmland Trust
Page Numbers: 
Publication Date: 
July 1, 1998
Literature Category: 
Reports and Studies