“The only element of TDA’s Farm Policy Reform Act of 1984 that made it into the final legislation was the Conservation Reserve Program. This was the first time farmers were paid to put some of their acreage into longterm sustainable cover crops to improve wildlife habitat, water and air quality, and reduce soil erosion, as well as raise commodity prices by limiting production. It is now the largest carbon-reduction program for agriculture in the US.”
Heather Ball was drafted immediately after joining the department to develop the economic case for the Farm Policy Reform Act of 1984. Doug Zabel, Fred Lundgren, Leland Beatty and Susan DeMarco had developed the structure, but wanted Heather to analyze how the proposed parity prices would impact, say, the price of cheeseburgers at McDonalds and the cost to taxpayers and consumers. Heather later developed the cost-benefit analysis for new pesticide regulations and innovative programs for cash-strapped farmers, like Country Crafted Texas and the Hunters Clearinghouse.