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Enemies to Allies: The Role of Policy-Design Adaptation in Facilitating a Farmer–Environmentalist Alliance



In the period 1985 to 1996, agricultural conservation policy in the United States underwent a fundamental transition from a focus on policy design elements that emphasized short-term economic returns for farmers and long-term productivity to a focus on design elements that emphasized systemic environmental concerns. Although farmers' concerns with the environment were doubtlessly real, this adaptation of design elements allowed the agriculture policy community to gain the support of the environmental community for programs that offered new ways to channel short-term economic support to farmers. The adaptation of design elements was triggered by the severe economic threat farmers began to experience in the late 1970s. This article investigates the language adaptations that facilitated the changes in agricultural conservation policy by analyzing the five policy-design elements developed by Ingram and Schneider.

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