• agriculture;
  • China;
  • Jiangsu Province;
  • rural development

ABSTRACT. China's agricultural sector requires reforms to assure farmers and consumers of fair prices while protecting the environment and permitting sustainable growth in the coming years. The affluent eastern province of Jiangsu is an appropriate site in which to explore the effects of agricultural reforms on rural households and, in turn, the effects of these households on the environment. We compare two surveys (1987 and 1996), of 100 households each, of farmers in Huaiyin and Huai'an Counties, Jiangsu Province. Indicated are chronically low economic returns on grain, moderate returns for livestock, and the highest returns for vegetables. Unfortunately, the production of livestock and vegetables requires more farm chemicals, inorganic fertilizers, and placement of field plastic-all of which are associated with greater environmental problems.