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Conservation Reserve program, croplands, land use, argicultural economics, crop profitability


South Dakota (SD) has 2.06 million acres of CRP land with contracts expiring from 1996 - 2002. These CRP lands are 10.5% of cropland acres and 4.6% of land in farms in South Dakota. The major objective is to determine relative profitability of alternative crop and forage uses of post-contract CRP lands in different regions of South Dakota. Crop and forage per acre net returns were heavily influenced by relative productivity of CRP lands. The relative productivity of average CRP land compared to all cropland varies from 76% to 95% in eastern and central SD to 89% - 103% of all cropland in western SD. Within each region, CRP lands were subdivided into high, average, and low yield categories. Alfalfa and other forage uses were generally the most profitable uses of low-yield CRP land, while soybeans, wheat, corn, or alfalfa were the most profitable uses of average or high-yield CRP lands. Aggregate net returns to forage and cropland uses in SD were 9 % to 20% greater if 50% to 100% of the amount of CRP acres were re-enrolled in new contracts. This information can be used to develop more specific post-CRP management plans by producers and to help assess economic impacts of potential land use changes.


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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