Compiled by Andy Clark, Stuart Gagnon, Mary Gold, Joseph Makuch, Roberta Rand, Susan Wilzer
National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
10301 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2351
Table of Contents
World Wide Web Sites
Document Delivery Services at NAL
This resource guide was assembled by a group of National Agricultural Library (NAL) staff for distribution at the symposium "Who Will Pay for On-Farm Environmental Improvements in the 21st Century?" held April 12, 2000 at NAL in Beltsville, Maryland.
The symposium offered individuals with different perspectives on the economic aspects of agricultural operations and environmental quality the opportunity to exchange views and ideas on the topic. Agriculture in the United States has historically produced a food supply that is relatively inexpensive. That benefits our society. However, agriculture, like other land uses, can have negative impacts on the natural environment. That detracts from our quality of life. To counter this, many people are working toward the goal of protecting the environment while maintaining the agricultural producer's ability to operate a viable enterprise that provides an adequate standard of living, contributes to the community and produces high quality, affordable food.
The guide has two sections: The first contains literature citations selected from AGRICOLA--NAL's database of agricultural literature. Citations cover United States agriculture during the past five years. To find additional citations, search AGRICOLA. The second section contains annotated links to selected World Wide Web sites relevant to the topic.
Information sources in this guide focus on policies and programs related to agriculture and
the environment. You'll also find items that examine how these broad policies interface with production factors and issues of environmental stewardship to influence farm-level decisions.
You can use these resources to learn more about the complexities involved with agricultural
production that must be both economically viable and environmentally friendly. Given the diversity of agricultural enterprises and natural landscapes, it will require a variety of creative and knowledgeable people to craft equitable and effective solutions.
This electronic bibliography is intended primarily to provide awareness of recent investigations and discussions of a topic and is not intended to be in-depth and exhaustive. The inclusion or omission of a particular publication or citation should not be construed as endorsement or disapproval. (See all NAL Disclaimers.)
Joseph R. Makuch
Print Source Bibliography
Abstract: In 1988 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under provisions of the Endangered
Species Act (ESA), declared two fish species in the Klamath Basin as endangered and mandated
minimum water levels in Upper Klamath Lake to protect habitat for these species. The lake is the
key hydrological feature of the basin; inflows and lake storage provide irrigation water for over
220,000 acres (890.34 km2) in the area. The ESA lake level restrictions reduced both expected
average irrigation water supplies and the capacity of the lake to stabilize water supplies during
drought cycles. This research explores trade-offs between lake levels for fish protection and the
profits of farmers under a range of lake level and farmer adaptations. The results indicate that
farmers can adjust their irrigation decisions to offset some of the water supply reductions.
However, there are costs to agriculture. The expected average cost of maintaining ESA lake
levels (estimated over 73 water years) is approximately $2 million annually; for severe drought
years, annual costs exceed $15 million or about 60% of average farm profits. The steeply
increasing marginal cost curve shows an increasingly heavier economic burden to agriculture as
lake level restrictions increase.
Abstract: This article evaluates changes in net farm returns, erosion, and surface water quality
from increasing the level of erosion targeting for conservation compliance from the field to the
farm or watershed. The hypothesis is that private and social benefits increase with the level of
targeting, but at the expense of greater erosion and nonpoint source pollution. Linear
programming is used to determine optimal resource management systems (RMSs) for reducing
erosion and nonpoint source pollution under field-, farm-, and watershed-level targeting for an
agricultural watershed in northern Idaho. Field-level targeting achieves an average erosion limit
of 5 or 7.5 tons per acre per year on all fields in the watershed. Farm-and watershed-level
targeting achieve the same average erosion rate for each farm in the watershed and the entire
watershed, respectively. RMSs consist of seven tillage-land treatment practices and nine crop
rotations. Erosion rates are estimated using the universal soil loss equation. Mass loadings of
sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chemical oxygen demand to the outlet of the watershed are
simulated for four storm events using the Agricultural Nonpoint Source simulation model.
Increasing the level of targeting from field to farm to watershed increases net private benefit and
net social benefit, but at a decreasing rate. Total erosion and loading of nitrogen and phosphorus
attached to sediment and dissolved in water, and chemical oxygen demand at the outlet of the
watershed increase as the level of targeting increases. For most nonpoint source pollutants, the
relative efficiency of conservation compliance decreases as the level of targeting increases.
Abstract: Implementing best management practices (BMPs) can reduce nitrate concentration in
groundwater, but does it pay to invest in programs that reduce nitrate by encouraging increased
adoption of BMPs? In this paper we evaluate water quality improvement by benefit-cost analysis
of adopting BMPs under such a program. The analysis shows that under current levels of
contamination, costs of the program to foster BMP implementation will be equal to annually
accrued benefits over a period of 6 years. However, under the worsening scenarios of increased
nitrate-N concentrations, the same costs will be equal to the benefits in a 4- to 5-year period. If
water quality improves to acceptable levels through adoption of BMPs, the results reveal that in
the long run, investing in a BMP program will be more cost effective to reduce contamination
than to seek alternative sources of safe drinking water supplies.
Abstract: Benefits and costs of Virginia's forestry best management practices (BMPs) were
estimated for the Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain regions Using three actual
nonregulatory phases and one theoretical regulatory phase of forest water quality protection. The
four phases ranged from passive, nonregulatory to regulatory BMPs with increasingly restrictive
provisions. As the level of regulation increased, the benefit:cost ratio decreased, indicating that
costs were accruing at a proportionately greater rate than benefits. This pattern was most
pronounced in the Coastal Plain region where average erosion rates were low, and substantial
acreages were harvested. Results suggested that an aggressive, nonregulatory BMP program is
the most efficient approach to forest water quality protection assuming that overall program
compliance levels are sufficient to satisfy society's needs.
Abstract: Environmental awareness concerning pesticide hazards is kindling interest in pest
control strategies that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. One such strategy is site-specific management (SSM) for weed control. SSM prescribes spot application of pesticides
based on the distribution of pest populations in the field rather than a single standard control
applied to the entire field. This study examines the potential economic and environmental
benefits of SSM as a weed control instrument, using a variant of the computer-based dynamic
bioeconomic model, WEEDSIM. Simulations with the model were carried out within a dynamic
but deterministic framework. Differences in model performance under SSM when compared to
performance under standard practices impute value to SSM. Findings show that patchiness in
weed distributions plays a key role in the usefulness of SSM as a weed control tool. SSM seems
to be a promising tool for enhancing profit and reducing the environmental hazards of herbicide
use once the technology for its implementation can be provided at a reasonable cost.
Abstract: Farmers' management practices can have a significant effect on agricultural pollution.
Past research has analyzed factors influencing adoption of a single management practice. But
often adoption decisions about many practices are made simultaneously, which suggests use of a
polychotomous-choice model to analyze decisions. Such a model is applied to the choice of
alternative management practices on cropland in the Central Nebraska Basin and controlled for
self-selection and the interaction between alternative practices. The results of the choice model
are used to estimate the economic and environmental effects of adopting alternative
combinations of management practices.
Abstract: Two conventional cropping systems (winter wheat/dry peas and winter wheat/spring
barley/dry peas) in the dryland grain region of southeastern Washington were compared with
several alternative systems regarding profitability and environmental impacts. Two of the
alternative systems use green manure crops and have low fertilizer and pesticide requirements.
The remaining two are otherwise conventional rotations modified to include soil-building crops,
bluegrass seed and rapeseed. Estimates of annual off-site erosion damage ranged from $6.56 to
$20.50 per rotational acre, while on-site damage estimates ranged from $0.50 to $1.55 per
rotational acre. Estimated leaching losses of pesticides to a water table 3.6 feet deep were
negligible, but significant leaching losses of nitrate-N were predicted to occur from fall-applied
inorganic fertilizer. Including bluegrass in a conventional grain rotation increased estimated net
returns over variable costs by 16% and decreased soil loss by 33% compared with the most
profitable conventional rotation. The next most profitable alternative system, rapeseed plus a
conventional grain rotation, had slightly higher net returns over variable costs than the second
most profitable conventional rotation, with slightly less soil loss. When fixed costs of machinery
depreciation and land are included, the alternative systems fared relatively better. An
experimental wheat/pea/medic system had higher projected net returns over total costs than the
most profitable conventional rotation, while averaging just one-third as much soil loss per year.
A wheat/barley/sweetclover green manure rotation was similar in profitability to the less
profitable conventional rotation, but had. to determine the profit maximizing combination of
conventional and alternative rotations under 1990 farm bill provisions. Planting all or nearly all
land to the bluegrass plus conventional grain rotation maximized returns over total costs for high,
medium, and low program crop price scenarios. Farmers maximized profit by participating in
both the wheat and barley programs under the low price scenario, only in the wheat program with
moderate prices, and in neither the wheat nor the barley program under the high price scenario.
Abstract: A one-year field study compared the conventional 250W IR heat lamp with an energy-efficient 175W radiant heat lamp for swine farrowing operations. The energy-efficient heat lamp
showed a $36 annual cash savings per unit (assuming $0.10/kWh electricity); a 1.2% absolute
reduction in piglet mortality from birth to weaning (5.0 +/- 0.28% vs. 6.2 +/- 0.44%) (P<0.01); a
45% lower lamp failure rate (18 +/- 4% vs. 32 +/- 3%) (P<0.05); and a slightly higher rate of
weight gain for the piglets (217 +/- 4 g/day vs. 211 +/- 4 g/day) (P>0.05). The possible benefits
of using the energy-efficient heat lamp include an annual energy savings of $5,400 and 284 more
weaned pigs for a 1,000-sow farrowing operation. The study also revealed circadian patterns of
thermoregulatory behavior of the piglets, i.e., higher heat lamp usage during the day and lower at
night. Both the frequency and the magnitude of heat lamp usage seemed to depend on heat lamp
size and piglet age. Particularly, piglets spent more time under the 175W heat lamp than under
the 250W heat lamp, although visits to the heat lamps decreased with piglet age in both
instances. The results suggest that to accommodate the progressively decreasing thermal needs of
the piglets, a variable-output heat lamp would be more suitable than a constant-output heat lamp.
Further research is warranted to quantify the dynamic thermal needs of the piglets during this
critical phase of their life cycle.
Abstract: Four tomato production systems were compared at Columbus and Fremont, Ohio: 1) a
conventional system; 2) an integrated system [a fall-planted cover-crop mixture of hairy vetch
(Vicia villosa Roth.), rye (Secale cereale L.), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), and
barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) killed before tomato planting and left as mulch, and reduced
chemical inputs]; 3) an organic system (with cover-crop mixture and no synthetic chemical
inputs); and (4) a no-input system (with cover-crop mixture and no additional management or
inputs). Nitrogen in the cover-crop mixture above-ground biomass was 220 kg.ha-1 in Columbus
and 360 kg.ha-1 in Fremont. Mulch systems (with cover-crop mixture on the bed surface) had
higher soil moisture levels and reduced soil maximum temperatures relative to the conventional
system. Overall, the cover-crop mulch suppressed weeds as well as herbicide plots, and no
additional weed control was needed during the season. There were no differences in the
frequency of scouted insect pests or diseases among the treatments. The number of tomato fruit
and flower clusters for the conventional system was higher early in the season. In Fremont, the
plants in the conventional system had accumulated more dry matter 5 weeks after transplanting.
Yield of red fruit was similar for all systems at Columbus, but the conventional system yielded
higher than the other three systems in Fremont. In Columbus, there were no differences in
economic return above variable costs among systems. In Fremont, the conventional systems had
the highest return above variable costs.
Abstract: Soil erosion not only depletes soil resources, but also causes water pollution. Federal
programs have evolved over time to curtail soil erosion. However, soil erosion still persists in
farmland and is expected to intensify with the growing world food demand. These concerns have
led to the formulation of the Conservation Compliance Program (CCP) which requires every land
owner farming highly-erodible soil to develop and implement a suitable conservation plan in
order to be eligible for commodity program payments. Although the CCP has received a great
deal of attention, the linkages between environmental policies and soil erosion have not been
adequately addressed. The objectives of this article are to analyze the efficiency of the CCP using
the concept of marginal land value and rank the Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control
soil erosion on 12 major soils in Iowa. This article also examines the effect of CCP on net farm
returns and the sensitivity of the optimal solutions to changes in T-values. Net returns for each
soil type were estimated using the cost of production budgets and prices for corn, soybeans, oats,
and meadow. The Universal Soil Equation was used to estimate the soil erosion under each
rotation and management technique. The cost and return budgets were used to formulate a series
of representative farms using a linear programming model to analyze the impact of CCP on net
returns. The efficiency analysis of the CCP indicated that marginal values of different soil types
do vary which implies that society may benefit from equalizing the marginal values through a
traceable coupon system. The results on the BMP suggest that producers will comply with the
CCP because the net returns from compliance are higher than the net returns from
non-compliance in all soil types.
Abstract: Mechanism design theory is used to characterize the properties of a least-cost CRP. If
marginal land rents decrease with acres farmed then a least-cost CRP is a set of nonlinear price
schedules. If marginal land rents are independent of acres farmed then an offer system constitutes
a least-cost CRP. The least-cost offer system gives a useful estimate ot the upper bound of a
least-cost CRP. Empirical results suggest that a 34-million-acre CRP should have cost no more
than $1 billion per year.
Abstract: This study demonstrates how contingent valuation techniques can be used in a cost-benefit analysis of a food safety policy issue. The analysis focuses on banning a specific
postharvest pesticide used in fresh grapefruit packinghouses. Benefits of the ban are measured
using consumers' aggregated willingness to pay (WTP) for safer grapefruit. A national contingent
valuation survey used the payment card method to obtain WTP data. Costs of the ban stem
predominantly from increased postharvest losses and were estimated using a model of the market
for Florida grapefruit. Results indicate that benefits of the ban outweigh costs.
Abstract: An environmental stewardship program, whereby farmers are paid directly for the
environmental goods they provide, is developed by combining the microparameter distribution
model with mechanism design principles. The program overcomes the information asymmetry
between farmers and governments and accounts for the deadweight losses from distortionary
taxes. The characteristics of optimal input and payment schedules of the program are derived.
These optimal schedules are determined by the tradeoffs between farming profits, environmental
benefits, and deadweight losses from taxes, and are second-best except under restrictive
conditions on deadweight losses from taxes and on the marginal product of inputs and marginal
Abstract: We examine the relative influence of preferences and technology on producers' ex ante
willingness to pay for a reduction in production risk. A risk averse producer pays both an Arrow-Pratt risk premium to stabilize income and a 'production premium' to stabilize yield. Using soil-nitrate risks as our motivating example, we demonstrate that
the production premium accounts
for 40-85% of producers' willingness to pay for risk reduction. These results demonstrate the
relative importance of technology over risk preferences when estimating the costs of agricultural
Abstract: This study examines the relationship between chemical input use and crop insurance
purchase decisions for a sample of Kansas dryland wheat farmers. Recent research by Horowitz
and Lichtenberg indicated that, contrary to conventional wisdom, farmers that purchased
insurance tended to use relatively more chemical inputs than farmers who did not insure. In
contrast, our results confirm the conventional view that moral hazard incentives lead insured
farmers to use fewer chemical inputs. Implications for the joint determination of insurance and
input use decisions and appropriate estimation techniques are discussed.
Abstract: We develop a dynamic economic model that includes control variables for both
nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation water to analyze interseasonal corn production and nitrate
leaching in the presence of irrigation system nonuniformity. The economic model is used to
estimate profit-maximizing nutrient management plans under varying levels of system
uniformity. The model is also used to appraise several policy options that have been proposed in
the nitrate leaching literature as a means of regulating water quality. Investments in technology
are considered, as well as limits on nitrate leaching, nitrogen fertilizer, and irrigation water.
Abstract: The impact of agriculture on water quality is increasing attention to management
practices that decrease pollution while increasing farm profits. The pre-sidedress nitrogen test
(PSNT) is a new management practice that increases the feasibility of nitrogen tests in humid
production regions. This article evaluates the impacts on profits and excess nitrogen of adoption
of the PSNT by Pennsylvania corn producers. Three data sources are used in this study. A 1990
survey of Pennsylvania dairy producers provided data on PSNT use, corn yields, and nutrient
management practices. A 1989 to 1991 field evaluation provided data on changes in PSNT
fertilizer recommendations compared to traditional recommendations. Fertilizer response and
nitrogen uptake functions were estimated from fertilizer response experiments. These data were
limited to a few years and reflected the behavior of early adopters and agronomy research results.
However, the similarity of results from separate analyses validates the procedures. Statistical
analysis of the farmer survey data found no changes in yields, but did find an approximately 42
pound per acre decrease in nitrogen fertilizer and total nitrogen from using the PSNT. The
average decrease in recommended nitrogen applications in the field test study ranged from 15 to
60 pounds per acre. Profit increases from PSNT use are $3.78 per acre for the farmer survey and
$13.65 per acre for the field test. Excess nitrogen decreases are 42.51 and 38.06 pounds per acre
from the farmer survey and field evaluation, respectively. The modest increase in profits and
large decreases in excess nitrogen indicate that the PSNT is a desirable practice, but that policy
incentives may be necessary.
Abstract: A simultaneous equations, or "switching-regression," model is developed to assess the
impact of soil nitrogen (N) testing on N fertilizer use, crop yields, and net returns in corn
growing areas of Nebraska. The results indicate that when there is uncertainty about the quantity
of available "carry-over" N, N testing enables farmers to reduce fertilizer use without affecting
crop yields. However, the value of information from N tests depends critically on cropping
history and soil characteristics. These findings have implications for environmental and
technology transfer policies designed to reduce nonpoint source water pollution.
Abstract: Costs and benefits of no-tillage (NT) were analyzed and compared with conventional
tillage (CT) for irrigated corn (Zea mays L.) in the northern Texas High Plains. Research results,
from a 4-yr wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)/corn/fallow rotation, were used to validate the Erosion
Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC), a widely used daily time-step hydrologic and crop
growth simulator. The yields generated by EPIC were used in the Farm Level Income and Policy
Simulation Model (FLIPSIM), to analyze the long-term (10 yr) economics of NT and CT corn
production on a whole farm basis under various irrigation strategies. The results indicated that
NT increased the probability of survival for the low water irrigation strategy while increasing net
cash farm income by 8.5% on the more frequent irrigations strategy. NT resulted in higher
present values of ending net worth for all irrigation strategies. NT's ability to reduce water needs,
decrease yield variability, and reduce machinery use (fuel, replacement, and repair costs) more
than offset the increase in chemical costs associated with NT compared with CT.
Abstract: Alternative agriculture studies are important to producers developing production plans
to meet the increasing demands of agricultural and environmental policies. However, the
profitability of these systems is sensitive to several factors, including the type and length of
rotations, yields, crop prices, and government commodity program provisions. An analysis of net
returns and costs for a conventional farming system and three alternative farming systems for a
typical northeast Kansas farm is performed with and without the basic government commodity
provisions. Initially, constant crop yields are assumed across all production systems. Price,
break-even, and equivalent net-return yield sensitivity analyses are used to determine how
sensitive the initial results are to forage price changes and yield reductions in corn, soybean,
wheat, and grain sorghum. A unique analysis is used in order to address the possibility of
reduced yields under the alternative systems compared to the conventional system. The reduction
in yield for the crops in the alternative systems is estimated based on reduced nitrogen uptake
simulated by the Groundwater Loading Effects of Agricultural Management System (GLEAMS)
model. The highest net return is from an alternative cropping system of wheat/clover-sorghum-soybean when the ideal of each respective crop is equivalent across systems. This occurs both
with and without government commodity program participation. When the analysis is re-examined using yields based upon estimated nitrogen uptake and alternative forage prices, all
alternative and transitional systems are less profitable than the conventional system. This
analysis shows that under the combination of lower yields from reduced nitrogen uptake and
likely reduced forage prices, the alternative systems are less profitable than the conventional
Abstract: This study determines the most cost effective spatial pattern of farming systems for
improving water quality and evaluates the economic value of riparian buffers in reducing
agricultural nonpoint source pollution in a Midwestern agricultural watershed. Economic and
water quality impacts of alternative farming systems are evaluated using the CARE and SWAT
models, respectively. The water quality benefits of riparian buffers are estimated by combining
experimental data and simulated water quality impacts of farming systems obtained using
SWAT. The net economic value of riparian buffers in improving water quality is estimated by
total watershed net return with riparian buffers minus total watershed net return without riparian
buffers minus the opportunity cost of riparian buffers. Exclusive of maintenance cost, the net
economic value of riparian buffers in reducing atrazine concentration from 45 to 24 ppb is
$612,117 and the savings in government cost is $631,710. Results strongly support efforts that
encourage farmers to develop or maintain riparian buffers adjacent to streams.
Abstract: For the past 20 yr, Florida has attempted to control phosphorus runoff from dairy
manure into Lake Okeechobee. The elevated phosphorus levels in runoff water entering the lake
has resulted in eutrophic conditions that threaten lake uses, including recreational and municipal
water supplies. The lake watershed is also an important milkshed for southeastern Florida. In the
1980s, three water quality programs were implemented by Florida state agencies in the Lake
Okeechobee basin in order to reduce phosphorus loads into the lake. This paper presents
estimates of the economic impacts of the three water quality programs on the economy of
Okeechobee County and the regional area during the period 1987 to 1993. Direct impacts of the
water quality program include a 26% reduction in dairy cows and a 17% reduction in milk
production in the affected area. Dairies that remained in production spent an average $1.14/cwt
(net of approximately 30% cost share) on both mandatory and optional components. This
additional private cost was more than offset by the 13% mean increase in milk production that
was experienced as a result of the investments. The total economic impacts of the water quality
programs included a 4% ($18 million) decline in income and a 4% (492 full-time equivalents)
decline in jobs.
Abstract: New crop production technologies developed in response to growing concern over
environmental contamination from agriculture may be neither more profitable nor higher
yielding than the systems they replace, but they often reduce environmental contamination or
improve soil and water quality. Systems designed with environmental objectives cannot be
evaluated fairly just by productivity, which is what often is done in economic studies of
alternative systems. We review 58 recent studies comparing alternative crop production systems
to identify the key criteria for system comparisons, the system characteristics important in
designing the analysis, and the methods most suited for comparing alternative systems. The four
key criteria we looked for in system comparisons are expected profit, stability of profits,
expected environmental impacts, and stability of environmental impacts. Most economic studies
of crop production focus exclusively on profitability, and incorporate neither environmental
criteria nor the dynamic characteristics inherent in alternative systems. We identify promising
new approaches that take account of specific environmental characteristics and attempt to
balance the objectives of profitability and environmental risk management. Balanced
environmental-economic analysis is most likely to be achieved by integrating biophysical
simulation models with economic optimization methods to model the trade-offs among
profitability, environmental impact, and system stability (both financial and environmental).
Abstract: Requiring that crop applications of manure be based on phosphorus content (P-standard) could increase poultry litter disposal costs. Microbial phytase reduces litter P content
and could reduce litter disposal costs under a P-standard. For a representative Virginia turkey
farm, phytase costs $2,500 and could increase value of litter used for fertilizer on the turkey farm
by $390 and reduce supplemental P feed costs by $1,431. Based on assumed litter demand and
supply, estimated litter export prices with phytase could exceed export prices without phytase by
$3.81 per ton. Phytase net returns to the farm are an estimated $1,435.
Abstract: The problem of targeting CRP purchases to buy environmental amenities under
productivity and environmental heterogeneity is considered. Gini coefficients and Lorenz curves
are used to measure the effectiveness of spending under alternative targeting criteria. The
environmental benefits considered are water erosion, wind erosion, surface water quality, and
wildlife habitat. The three alternative targeting criteria examined include purchasing land
according to (i) the benefit-to-cost ratio, (ii) the level of benefits, and (iii) the level of cost.
Results indicate that the degree of variability and correlation determine the extent to which
suboptimal targeting achieves a significant portion of available environmental benefits.
Abstract: A tillage project was initiated in 1989 at the University of Illinois Dixon Springs
Agricultural Research Center in southern Illinois to evaluate conservation tillage systems for land
being removed from Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). No-till (NT), chisel plow (CP), and
moldboard plow (MP) tillage systems on a Grantsburg silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Typic
Fragiudall) soil were studied. The soil has a fragipan at approximately 26 in. below the surface
on a 6.5% east facing slope. The tillage treatments were replicated eight times on 30 by 40 ft
plots. The area had been in tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea (L.) Schreb.] sod. For the project,
corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] were grown on a 6-yr rotation.
Economic data were estimated for the three tillage systems using a simulation model to select
equipment and estimate costs. The objective was to determine crop yields and to compare returns
of the tillage treatments applied to CRP sod. Based on 6-yr of crop yield measurements (3 yr
corn and 3 yr soybean), NT and CP systems appear to result in improved long-term productivity
of sloping soil compared with MP. Machinery requirements and costs were lower with NT than
with the two other tillage systems. MP had the greatest machinery requirements and highest costs
and highest corn yield only in 1989. Crop yields with the NT system improved compared with
the yields with MP and CP systems each year with NT resulting in the highest crop yield in the
fourth, fifth, and sixth years with the differences statistically significant the last two crop years.
The NT system provided the highest net income and the MP system the lowest over the 6 yr
study. Net income with NT system. adjustment) and $40/acre per yr higher than with the MP
system. The NT system reduced soil loss from erosion to below the current and future soil loss
Abstract: This article develops a spatial model of regional livestock productionand three
attendant environmental effects: spills from animal waste stores; nutrient runoff due to the
application of manure to croplands; and direct ambient pollution, including odors, pests, and
gases. Assuming that neither environmental outcomes nor operators' manure-spreading practices
can be monitored and regulated, constrained efficient production arrangements and waste-handling practices are described. The efficiency effects of several regulatory policies are then
explored, including (a) scale regulations that limit animal inventories, (b) chemical fertilizer
taxes, and (c) waste storage and handling standards that affect storm protections and manure
Abstract: Given that the majority of conservation reserve program (CRP) contracts on
approximately 36 million acres of enrolled land expire concurrently, re-enrollment decisions by
farmers and the federal government have high budgetary implications. Using a survey of over
8,000 CRP contract holders, we apply an ordered response discrete choice model to explicitly
model the range in rental rates over which the representative farmer may be ambivalent to
renewing the CRP contract. Given the empirical results from the ordered response model, we
estimate acreage re-enrollment as a function of the rental rate and compare them to results of a
binomial choice model.
Abstract: The impact of integrated pest management (IPM) on pesticide use, toxicity and other
environmental characteristics, yields, and farm profits is examined for grape growers. The
method is generally applicable for technology adoption and accounts for self-selectivity,
simultaneity, and theoretical consistency. IPM adopters apply significantly less insecticides and
fungicides than nonadopters among grape producers in six states, accounting for most of the U.S.
production. Both the average toxicity and the Environmental Impact Quotient decrease slightly
with adoption of insect IPM, but remain about the same for adopters and nonadopters of IPM for
diseases. The effect of IPM adoption on yields and variable profits is positive but only significant
for the case of IPM for diseases, i.e., the adoption of IPM for diseases increases yields and profits
Abstract: A deterministic static linear programming (LP) model of a dairy farm is presented and
tested. The objective function of the model maximizes labour income. The model will be used
for determining the effects of institutional, technical and price changes on the farm plan,
economic results and nutrient losses to the environment. In this paper attention has been paid to
the way in which animal production, feed production and environmental aspects were
incorporated in the model. Optimizations were made for a typical dairy farm facing a levy on N
losses and an increase in milk and plant production. Results are consistent and can be explained
from the assumptions made. They show that negative economic effects of environmental
legislation can be compensated by positive effects of technical improvement.
Abstract: This article extends the work of Cohn et al.  on estimating constituent loads to
the problem of estimating a percent reduction in load. Three estimators are considered: the
maximum likelihood (MLE), a "bias-corrected" maximum likelihood (BCMLE), and the
minimum variance unbiased (MVUE). In terms of root-mean-square error, both the MVUE and
BCMLE are superior to the MLE, and for the cases considered here there is no appreciable
difference between the MVUE and the BCMLE. The BCMLE is constructed from quantities
computed by most regression packages and is therefore simpler to compute than the MVUE
(which involves approximating an infinite series). All three estimators are applied to a case study
in which an agricultural tax in the Everglades agricultural area is tied to an observed percent
reduction in phosphorus load. For typical hydrological data, very large sample sizes (of the order
of 100 observations each in the baseline period and after) are required to estimate a percent
reduction in load with reasonable precision.
Abstract: Site-specific farming (SSF) practices are being adopted at an accelerating rate, but
evidence of their profitability has been mixed or missing. This contribution evaluates the
profitability of SSF practices by synthesizing quantitative and qualitative research results within
the context of the economics of information technology. The profitability results from nine
published field research studies on variable rate (VR) fertilizer application are reviewed using
partial budgets adjusted to include minimum costs and grid cell areas for each study. Profitability
results correlated closely with the gross revenue earning potential of the crop, so VR fertilizer
application was unprofitable on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.),
sometimes profitable on corn (Zea mays L.), and profitable on sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris subsp. L.
vulgaris). Although the formal published literature has ignored the profitability of yield mapping,
production economics and farmer interviews suggest that yield mapping is profitable when it
reveals yield patterns that can be managed at acceptable cost and when the information has
compensating off-field value. Manageable yield variability includes not only VR input
management, but also whole-field improvements such as field drainage, land leveling,
windbreaks, and fencing. Off-field value can come from cheaper on-farm experimentation and
greater negotiating power with landlords. Farmers and agribusinesses committed to field crop
production for the long term should develop SSF capabilities. But because SSF practices are site-specific, their profitability potential too is site-specific. This site specificity extends beyond the
farm field to the crop rotation, and the capabilities and opportunities available to the farm or
Abstract: The sustainability of farming systems must be assessed by their potential
environmental, economic, and social performance. We present a case study to illustrate an
assessment of relative sustainability that uses all three performance criteria. We developed two
scenarios for farmland currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Putnam
County, Missouri: a conventional scenario reflecting farming practices typical of northern
Missouri, and an alternative that we hypothesize to be more environmentally sound. We used
selected economic and social indicators to assess whether the latter would be at least as
economically viable and socially responsible as the conventional system. Estimated direct farm
income was $3.4 million for the alternative and $2.4 million for the conventional scenario. The
alternative system applies more labor and management to a given land resource and may support
more farming families. Estimated total community economic impacts were 25% greater for the
alternative than the conventional farming scenario. CRP land, therefore, could be resumed to
production in a way that could significantly enhance local economic and social benefits while
retaining many of the CRP's environmental benefits.
Abstract: Cost-benefit analysis is important in herbicide cancellation decisions. Estimation of
substitute herbicides and their shares after a cancellation is essential in cost-benefit analysis.
Three methods commonly used for this purpose include: expert opinion; historic market share;
and the best substitute. In addition to individual problems of each method, they all depend on
expert opinions. Problems with expert opinions are: variations among experts in potential
substitutes and their shares; court challenges over expert opinions; and availability of "true"
experts. Therefore, a new methodology that depends on survey data of actual farmer choices is
needed. Based on a simple economic model, farmers' herbicide selection procedures and the
historical market share method, this study develops an index method that estimates potential
substitute herbicides and their shares for herbicide cancellations. By combining substitute
herbicides estimated by the index method and the share distribution calculation used in the
historical market share method, an amended historical market share method is developed. Both
methods are used to estimate substitute products and final use levels for 10 hypothetical
herbicide cancellations for the Southeastern Coastal Plain in Georgia, North Carolina, South
Carolina and Virginia. Statistical tests show that the index method is better than the amended
historical market share procedure in terms of weighted efficacy and costs of substitute herbicides.
Expert opinions were assessed for the herbicide use pattern following 10 herbicide cancellations.
Responses differed from those obtained by using analytical models. Environmental and
economic consequences of 10. amended historical market share methods. The estimated
environmental and economic impacts of herbicide cancellations are sensitive to herbicide use
Abstract: Factor-input demand should be affected when a producer considers environmental
risks in the decision-making process; this is a straight forward application of the LeChatelier
Principle. The two-fold purpose of this study is to develop a model to estimate environmental
costs arising from excess factor inputs and to examine how firm-level factor-input demand is
affected by economic and environmental risk. Nitrogen fertilizer use in northeast Kansas dryland
corn production is used as an example. Weather and corn growth simulation models were used to
generate 50-year distributions of dryland corn yields and potential environmental damage
(surplus nitrogen). A model for approximating external environmental costs of surplus factor
inputs was developed. Private (environmental costs not included) and social (environmental costs
included) net returns distributions were generated for 1991 Farm Bill program participation and
non-participation. Stochastic dominance analysis with respect to a function was used to identify
the risk-efficient fertilizer strategies from among the 24 private and 24 social net returns
distributions. Constrained (private) and unconstrained (social) nitrogen fertilizer demand
schedules were then approximated on a per-pound of fertilizer basis as measures of the
incremental value of nitrogen fertilizer. As expected, the results suggest that: (1) in the absence
of environmental risk, nitrogen demand is more elastic as a producer becomes more risk averse;
and (2) when environmental risk is introduced into the decision-making process, nitrogen
demand is more elastic than when environmental risk is excluded. The findings support the
hypothesis that producerswhen provided with information regarding the potential environmental
effects of production strategies, may choose those that are more environmentally benign.
Abstract: A farm-level risk programming framework is presented which evaluates
income/environmental risk tradeoffs. This framework uses a time-series of environmental risk
indices to incorporate the stochastics, multiattribute characteristics of environmental outcomes
associated with agricultural production practice. The model is applied to a representative farm in
the Oklahoma Panhandle region of the Central High Plains. Results indicate that expected
income is sensitive to nitrate loading restrictions, and relatively less sensitive to pesticide loading
restrictions. Results also indicate that prescriptions derived using deterministic environmental
risk measures may ignore significant probabilities of exceeding an environmental standard.
Abstract: Source control costs for deep percolation emissions from irrigated agriculture are
analyzed using a farm-level model. Crop area, irrigation system and applied water are chosen to
maximize the net benefits of agricultural production while accounting for the environmental
damages and disposal costs of those emissions. Deep percolation is progressively reduced as
environmental and disposal costs are increased. This occurs primarily through the adoption of
more efficient irrigation technology and reductions in applied water for a given technology.
Higher surface water prices, such as through irrigation reform and constrained surface supplies,
are additionally considered in light of the drainage problem, as are the effects, both short- and
long-term, on ground water.
Abstract: Complex (multi-species) agroecosystems change rapidly as a result of farmers'
decisions based on their perception of opportunities and constraints. Overall, the major trend is
still one of reducing complexity. This review addresses the driving forces as well as
consequences of this change and discusses the hypothesis that complex agricultural systems are
more dependable in production and more sustainable in terms of resource conservation than
simple ones. Farmer decisions regarding planned diversity on the farm have consequences not
only for the harvested produce, but also for associated diversity and non-harvested components
which may contribute to ecological sustainability. Functional attributes of plants which can lead
to complementarity in resource capture include root architecture and phenology. Three
hypotheses on biodiversity and ecosystem function are formulated (ranging from weak negative
to strong positive interactions) and discussed. Evidence is not yet conclusive.
Abstract: Technologies to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide
within the agriculture sector were reviewed to estimate the global potential for mitigation of
these radiatively active greenhouse gases. Our estimates of the potential reduction of radiative
forcing by the agricultural sector range from 1.15-3.3 Gt C equivalents per year. Of the total
potential reduction, approximately 32% could result from reduction in CO2 emissions, 42% of
carbon offsets by biofuel production on 15% of existing croplands, 16% from reduced CH4
emissions and 10% from reduced emissions of N2O. Agriculture encompasses large regional
differences in management practices and rates of potential adoption of mitigation practices.
Acceptability of mitigation options will depend on the extent to which sustainable production
will be achieved or maintained and benefits will accrue to farmers. Technologies such as no-till
farming and strategic fertilizer placement and timing are now being adopted for reasons other
than concern for climate change issues.
Abstract: A comprehensive grazing simulation model, GRASIM, that links components of the
pasture system was developed. The grass component of the model contains two main carbon
compartments: storage and structure. It accounts for root growth and maintenance, shoot growth,
shoot respiration, senescence, and recycling. Shoot growth is partitioned into leaf and stem. The
soil profile is partitioned into two zones. The top zone is where water and nitrogen additions and
uptake, water evaporation, and nitrogen transformations take place. Nitrogen transformations
include nitrification, mineralization, uptake, volatilization, denitrification, and leaching. The
lower zone activities include plant uptake of water and nitrogen. Soil water is budgeted using a
simplified water balance that considers runoff after a heavy rainfall, evapotranspiration, water
movement between layers, and leaching. Effects of nitrogen and water stresses on growth are
included. GRASIM predicts daily growth rate, biomass accumulation, protein and fiber content,
water and nutrient levels. The simulation model can be used to obtain a better understanding of
the pasture system and determine management strategies which yield more efficient use of
pastures both economically and environmentally. It generates information suitable for estimating
the financial and environmental consequences of alternative dairy management strategies
including partial mechanical harvest in the context of the year round feeding needs of the dairy
herd. GRASIM can be used to evaluate stocking rate effect on supplementation and amount of
harvested feed, and storage/harvest needs, and year to year variability.
Abstract: A greater focus of legislative mandates is directed toward nonpoint sources of
pollution. This article focuses on environmental regulations and their impact on cattle
production. Key legislation will be reviewed to stress how variations in the type of law, degree of
impact, enforcement mechanism, and time line for compliance affect the ability for research to be
designed and accomplished in a desired time frame and to yield data on which imposed
management practices should be based. Science-based regulations are desired to maximize
beneficial impacts of management practices; however, many regulations are developed and
management practices are imposed prior to research to minimize liability of the regulatory
agency in case natural resources are degraded in the absence of management practices. The
technology adoption process will be reviewed. Documented impact of imposed management
practices (technology adoption) will be presented. Of particular interest is the importance of
documenting the economic and resource impacts of regulations on livestock operators. Types of
research needed prior to implementing management practices will be reviewed. Local
involvement can increase the adoption rate of practices and technologies.
Abstract: A linear programming model was utilized to determine the economically optimal dairy
herd intensities, manure application rates, and crop mix for unrestricted and restricted scenarios
of N loss on New York dairy farms. Two representative farms were developed for dairies with 60
or 250 cows that utilized manure handling systems: no storage and daily spreading versus 6 mo
of storage and biannual spreading, respectively. Both farms were substantially affected by the
imposition of restrictions on N loss, although profitability decreases were relatively smaller on
the larger farm, partially because of better conservation and more efficient utilization of manure
nutrients. Optimal cow numbers per hectare decreased by nearly 35% on the smaller farm as
restrictions on N loss intensified. When initial hectares were retained, rates of return to equity
capital decreased > 150 and 100% on the farms with 60 and 250 cows, respectively, compared
with 47 and 42% when hectare adjustments were optimal. Whether dairy farmers are able to
make hectare adjustments under restrictions on N loss may well determine future sustainability
and survival of the farming operations. If additional hectares are not available or feasible to
acquire, herd reductions may be necessary to meet restrictions on N loss, dropping profitability
Abstract: This study examines nitrogen control policies on farms at differing sites that produce
crops exclusively or that produce crops and livestock. Differences across farm sites and types are
examined by solving a bio-economic model. This model finds profit-maximizing production
plans and their attendant effluent emissions under four policies: no nitrogen control policies; a
tax on commercial nitrogen purchases; a tax on effluent emissions; and an emission standard.
Model results imply that input and emission taxation rates must be relatively high before nitrate
emissions are lowered. Taxes must range a great deal across farm sites and farm types to obtain
similar emission levels. For a given emission level, empirical results indicate that reductions in
net farm returns are twice as much under tax schemes as under an emission standard. Input taxes
have several problems: they may not reduce nitrate emission; they may affect relative polluters
less than relative non-polluters; and they may increase emissions of other effluents. Policies
encouraging adoption of conservation practices should be continued. Efforts targeting research
on cultural practices that reduce nutrient emissions may have high benefits. Research similar to
that presented here should be conducted on a wider range of farm sites and types. Conducting
this research would generalize these results.
Abstract: This two-part article reports on a process for integrating knowledge to develop and
evaluate nutrient management plans for dairy farms. The focus is on accounting for and
managing N, P, and K on a commercial farm. The case study farm was a well managed,
progressive dairy farm located in central New York with 320 lactating cows (Bos taurus), 290
heifers, and 600 acres of crop land. This farm had the resources and management skills that are a
model for dairy farming in the future. However, mass nutrient balances indicated that 60 to 72%
of imported N, P, and K were in excess of nutrient exports from the farm; 60 to 80% of the
imported nutrients were from purchased feeds. Evaluation and refinement of animal diets
resulted in a reduction in crude protein content of the rations by 2 percentage points while
supporting a 13% increase in milk production and a 34% decrease in total N excretion. Partial
budgets projected that ration reformulation increased net farm income by $40 200.
Implementation of a crop nutrient management plan was expected to decrease fertilizer purchases
and application expenses by about $1350, but construction of a remote manure storage pond and
custom spreading of manure resulted in a decrease of net farm income of $4000. The vast
quantity of data required and the complexity of the analysis indicate that developing
computerized decision aid tools will be necessary to apply the process to a large number of
Abstract: Farmers can be encouraged to voluntarily adopt environmentally sound management
practices through the use of incentive payments. This paper uses both a bivariate probit with
sample selection model and a double hurdle model on data from a survey of farmers to predict
farmer adoption of the practices as a function of the pay merit offer. The five management
practices addressed here are integrated pest management, legume crediting, manure testing, split
applications of nitrogen, and soil moisture testing. Also estimated are models that predict the
acreage on which these practices would be applied given the decision to accept the incentive
Abstract: Previous studies disagree on the effects of insurance on fertilizer application rates. The
effect of increased fertilizer on the probability of low yields primarily determines whether
fertilizer and insurance are substitutes or complements. We estimate conditional distributions of
corn yields to determine if the technical relationship between yields and fertilizer supports the
hypothesis that insurance increases optimal application rates. Our results indicate no support for
this hypothesis. At all nitrogen fertilizer rates and reasonable levels of risk aversion, nitrogen
fertilizer and insurance are substitutes, suggesting that those who purchase insurance are likely to
decrease nitrogen fertilizer applications.
Abstract: Efficiency gains of breaking a simulated field into management units sizes from the
largest possible (whole field) to the smallest possible were calculated for the application of
nitrogen fertilizer to corn. Twenty-seven alternative field fertility distributions were generated by
varying the mean, coefficient of variation and correlation coefficient for a lognormal distribution
that follows an AR (1) process. Average application rate and yield gain increase with decreases
in management unit size for high fertility fields as areas in the field requiring more fertilizer can
be identified. The opposite occurs in low average fertility fields since less fertilizer can be
applied to those more fertile areas rather than apply a high rate based on the low average for a
larger region. Efficiency gains increase with decreases in management unit size and are enhanced
with spatial variability.
Abstract: Manure management recommendations and practices should be preceded by a whole-farm, comprehensive manure management plan, but manure planning aids have shortcomings
that limit their widespread use. The Manure Application Planner (MAP), version 3.0, is a
computer software tool used for developing or assessing manure application plans that meet
environmental standards and achieve economic feasibility. Manure source quantity and analyses,
field nutrient needs and nutrient sensitivity, and nutrient pricing and application cost information
form the main categories of program input. Manure and fertilizer application rates are calculated
using a linear programming optimization procedure or entered from a predetermined plan. The
linear programming algorithm uses environmental, economic, and logistical constraints in its
operation to develop an optimized plan. Or, with a producer's predetermined or existing plan,
economic factors (fertilizer replacement value, application costs, and hauling costs) are presented
and environmental concerns (excess nutrients) are shown. Output information includes manure
and fertilizer application rates, total nutrient quantities of each source needed, excess nutrients
applied from the manure, residual N availability for the following year, leftover stored manure (if
any), and nutrient costs for each field and the farm with and without the use of manure. The
combination of individualized input for each farm and/or field and access to the program's
dataset coefficients allows for customized, farm-specific manure management plans.
Abstract: The primary purpose of the reported research was to evaluate the economic and
environmental performance of three production systems under study in the Ohio Buried Valley
Aquifer Management Systems Evaluation Area (MSEA) project. The three systems studied
included a monoculture system--continuous corn (Zea mays L.) (chisel plow) with routine
fertilizer and pesticide treatments; the typical system--a corn/soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]
rotation (chisel plow and no-till) with routine applications of pesticides and fertilizers; and an
alternative system--a corn/soybean/wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth
subsp. villosa) rotation (ridge-tilled) with fertilization based on soil tests and strategic
applications of pesticides. Enterprise and whole farm budgets were constructed for each system.
All sources of receipts and costs arising from production were recognized in the profitability
analysis. The typical system was found to have the highest return to management and the
monoculture system the lowest return. The alternative system produced net returns of about 50%
of those of the typical system. The wheat phase of the alternative system was the primary source
of reduced returns. A linear programming analysis was conducted to compare profitability for the
three systems with farm size variable (machinery complement capacity was the determinant of
farm size). The LP results suggested a widening of the profit differential between typical and
alternative systems due to a greater acreage capacity for the typical system. However, results
suggested that if wheat yields were increased through spring application of N fertilizer for wheat,
the alternative. assessment, evaluated through use of the Erosion-Productivity Impact Calculator
(EPIC), suggested lesser environmental consequences resulting from the alternative system than
from either of the other studied systems. Adjustments in the alternative system to improve
profitability brought little environmental downside.
Abstract: A method is presented for measuring the marginal welfare cost of environmental
regulations affecting agriculture. The method incorporates output market effects and recognizes
diversity in production conditions among crops, regions, and seasons. An important advantage of
the method is that only regional outputs and changes in regional production costs are needed to
calculate deadweight loss, thus simplifying the measurement of welfare changes. This feature of
the model is significant since the complexity and substantial data requirements of most existing
impact models cause many environmental regulations to be enacted with inadequate analysis of
their economic impacts. The method also disaggregates welfare impacts by crop, place, and time,
thus encouraging the implementation of nonuniform interventions that achieve a given level of
environmental quality more efficiently than uniform policies.
Abstract: Policy makers have several groundwater protection strategies at their disposal,
including moral suasion, design standards, performance standards, economic incentives, and
research and development. The objective of this research is to determine if management-based
means of protecting environmental quality on a representative farm in the Southern High Plains
region are more efficient than regulation, and if an efficiency gain exists, to quantify it in dollar
terms. A per-acre nitrogen application restriction and a pesticide ban are used in this study as the
design standards to compare with management-based water quality protection strategies. A farm-level risk programming framework is developed to incorporate the effect of environmental risk
on decision making. This framework is used to identify farm plans that maximize net returns, but
maintain environmental risk below a critical level, or target. Environmental risk is measured
using environmental risk indices, which aggregate several sources and types of chemical
loadings into a single value. Twenty-year distributions for the environmental indices are
calculated based on chemical loading estimates from the crop growth/chemical rate model EPIC-PST. This approach places weight on the accuracy of the environmental indices. The results
indicate that management-based means, which allow producers maximum discretion in reaching
farm-level environmental goals, can be much more efficient than regulatory approaches. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that on a per-farm basis, up to $23,929 for nitrate environmental risk
reduction, and $7,083 for pesticide environmental risk reduction can be spent to encourage the
adoption of management-based plans, and still maintain an efficiency gain over regulatory
policies. This analysis is done for a representative farm, however, and the results should not be
taken as a comprehensive evaluation of policy options across a region.
Abstract: Furrow irrigation is used on about 50% of the 22 million irrigated acres in the Great
Plains. Irrigation water is pumped from the Ogallala aquifer and is in limited supply in relation to
available land. Research has greatly improved irrigation water use efficiency since the mid 50s.
The most recent and efficient system of furrow irrigation is Limited Irrigation-Dryland (LID) in
which tailwater and rainfall runoff are almost eliminated using a combination of furrow dikes
and irrigating only the top two-thirds of a field. Our objective was to compare effectiveness of
conventional tillage, furrow diking, and notillage in fallow periods and crops in a winter wheat
(Triticum aestivum L.)-sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.]-fallow crop rotation using a
LID system of irrigation. No-tillage increased soil water storage during fallow periods compared
with conventional tillage and furrow diking. This in turn increased sorghum yield 400 lb/acre as
well as irrigation water use efficiency for sorghum. Wheat yield was not improved with no-tillage because of poor stands. Short-term variable costs with no-tillage were less than for furrow
diking or conventional tillage. Annual profits for conventional tillage, furrow diking, and no-tillage were $66, 63, and 75/acre. This research showed that using no-tillage is better than furrow
diking in a winter wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation using a LID irrigation system.
Abstract: This article studies the costs imposed on profit-maximizing farmers to comply with a
restriction of nitrogen fertilizer use on the cropland vulnerable to nitrate leaching. Will the
restriction impose a higher cost on those farmers growing crops on high-leaching cropland than
on those farmers growing crops on low-leaching cropland? This information is particularly useful
for policy makers interested in providing equitable financial incentives to farmers that encourage
them to mitigate nitrate leaching. A farm-level dynamic fertilizer-use decision model
incorporating nitrogen carry-over effects is employed to evaluate the farmer's compliance costs.
Theoretical results indicate that it is indeterminate whether cropland with a high leaching
potential will have a smaller (or higher) compliance cost than cropland with a moderate leaching
potential. Policy makers interested in determining an equitable level of financial incentive to
compensate a farmer to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use in mitigating nitrate leaching problems
should not use the level of leaching-vulnerability of cropland as a criterion. Rather, they should
rely on empirical results. Empirical results from an Iowa case study, however, show that a
fertilizer-use restriction on cropland highly vulnerable to leaching will have a smaller compliance
cost (i.e., a lower cost to the farmer) per acre as well as per pound reduction in nitrogen fertilizer
application rate relative to cropland with a moderate leaching potential. The per-acre cost
difference between these two types of cropland is relatively insignificant, but the cost per-pound
reduction of residual nitrogen between these two types of cropland can be quite significant.
Furthermore, for the farmer in. production strategy to reduce the amount of residual nitrogen
available for leaching, irrespective of the price of nitrogen fertilizer or cropland vulnerability to
Abstract: Adjustment costs and risk aversion are hypothesized to delay adoption of no-till
technology on representative corn and soybean farms in Michigan. The relevant adjustment costs
include: (1) the cost of replacing the conventional planter already in use; and (2) the cost of
learning how to obtain high crop yields with no till technology. Previous economic analyses of
no-till adoption have not considered adjustment costs and risk aversion together. This analysis
uses dynamic programming models to evaluate the effects of machinery replacement, risk
aversion, a learning curve, and crop yield expectations on adoption strategies by representative
profit-maximizing and risk-averse, expected utility-maximizing farmers in Michigan. Mean net
revenues for the no-till technology are higher than net revenues for conventional tillage when
mean crop yields are assumed to be equal for the two technologies. The estimated mean corn and
soybean yields are higher for the no-till system than for conventional tillage, but the differences
are not statistically significant. The representative risk-averse farmer waits until both the
conventional planter and the current tractor have aged many years before adopting the no-till
technology when equal mean yields and a learning curve are assumed. The representative profit-maximizing farmer replaces this machinery and adopts the no-till technology more quickly,
especially when no learning curve is considered. Both representative farmers adopt the no-till
technology much more quickly when the estimated mean crop yields are assumed than when
equal mean crop yields are assumed. Crop price expectations also exert a large influence on the
optimal adoption strategy for the risk-averse farmer. The results support efforts to promote no-till
technology by demonstrating superior to yields and lowering learning costs.
Abstract: A farming systems trial has been conducted at the Rodale Institute Research Center in
Kutztown, Pennsylvania since 1981. Over time, the organic rotation has changed to reflect
improved knowledge and experience. The current, three-year rotation (hairy vetch/corn,
rye/soybeans, and wheat) focuses on mechanical tillage for weed control and year-round live
plant cover for pest control and nutrient supply. We constructed long-term enterprise budgets for
the organic and conventional cash grain rotations and compared returns earned during the first
years of the study, which for the organic rotation involved investment in soil capital, with returns
during two later 5-year periods. The organic rotations during these two later periods produced
corn and soybean yields comparable with the conventional rotation, but grew higher-value crops
less frequently and required more family labor and management. The differences in the
profitability of the conventional and organic farming systems depend on whether the analysis
includes the initial investment in building up the soil and the value of family labor.
Abstract: Cover crop performance depends largely on management factors that must be
customized to particular farm situations and, therefore, is suited for on-farm research, with
farmers involved in both management and evaluation. Cover crop sequences that were successful
in a research station study were tested over a variety of soils and management strategies in
collaboration with farmers. The two-year cover crop sequences consisted of a short-season crop
followed by a cover crop in year one and corn in year two. The cover crops themselves were
evaluated by their agronomic and economic performance and their acceptance by farmers. Four
cover crop systems (companion-seeded red clover, sequentially seeded hairy vetch, sequentially
seeded oat, and fallow) were compared for ground cover, above-ground biomass and above-ground nitrogen yield, subsequent corn grain yield, and N fertilizer replacement value (N-FRV).
Cover crops were essential for erosion control following vegetable crops and tillage, but were not
necessary following small grains. Companion-seeded red clover produced the most ground
cover, yielded up to 133 kg N/ha, and had a higher average N-FRV than sequentially seeded
hairy vetch on sandy loam soils, but was not preferred by farmers who harvested small grain
straw as well as grain. Sequentially seeded hairy vetch gave excellent cover when no-till seeded,
produced more than 125 kg N/ha in half the site-years, and had a higher average N-FRV than
companion-seeded red clover on silt loam soils. First-year N-FRV for the legume cover crops
averaged 67 kg N/ha over both soil types. The participating farmers indicated that their decisions
to adopt cover crops would be based primarily on their need for ground. when valued solely as
an N source for the next year's crop (and not for any potential long-term benefits), cover crops
were not an economical alternative to N fertilizer. We suggest focusing future cover crop
research and extension efforts on outreach to farmers growing crops that do not provide
sufficient ground cover, such as short-season vegetable crops, and optimizing the cover crop
system to maximize its erosion control benefits and increase its profitability over N fertilizer.
Abstract: Industrialization of the food and agricultural sectors changes the pattern of external
effects. Participants helped or harmed in the process attempt to influence outcomes through
markets and politics. Decisions about property rights and boundaries determine benefits and
burdens and the relative cost of animal agriculture in different jurisdictions. Prescriptions to
redefine property rights are influenced by selective perception of rights to share in the benefits
and be protected from costs. Political choices about the appropriate jurisdiction (state versus
local) for addressing environmental and nuisance effects of animal agriculture affect whose
preferences count and will influence the development of these sectors.
Abstract: The future use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands is an important
agricultural policy issue. To examine the effects of factors that influence landowners' post-contract use of CRP lands, a survey of Texas High Plains CRP contract holders was conducted in
1992. This study analyzes the results of the survey using a qualitative choice model. It was found
that the presence of a livestock enterprise in the current contract holder's operation increases the
probability of these acres remaining in the established cover. Contract holders who value the
commodity base have an increased probability of returning their acres to crop production.
Abstract: This study evaluated the profitability of several cropping systems during a 10-year
period of an experiment comparing rotations and levels of purchased inputs. Continuous corn or
sorghum, corn/wheat-soybean (2-year), and corn/wheat-soybean/corn/clover hay (4-year) were
managed with recommended fertilizer and pesticide rates and no-till planting (C) or with N from
legumes, conventional tillage, and cultivation for weed control (L). Medium input management
(M: medium rate of N and banded herbicides) was included during years 5 through 10.
Generally, corn was the least profitable crop, regardless of input level or type of rotation.
Rotating crops improved profit more than did adding inputs to continuous corn. With L, average
annual profit was: continuous corn, -$64/ha; 2-year rotation, $135/ha; and 4-year rotation,
$158/ha. With C, the 2-year rotation increased profit to $165/ha from -$119/ha with continuous
corn. The increased profit with rotations was due to greater profits from wheat, soybean, and hay
offsetting low or negative profit from corn. Sorghum (grown only in monoculture) was more
profitable with L ($34/ha) than with C (-$20/ha). During the 6 years when all input levels were
compared, the order of average profit was M>L>C with continuous corn. Generally, profit was
not increased by M compared with L in the 2-and 4-year rotations. With L, the cost of weed
control was 20% of that for C with corn and 44% with soybean. Cost of N from fertilizer was
$0.66/kg, but cost of N from crimson clover (seed and planting costs) averaged $0.92/kg when
clover was drilled, $1.27/kg when aerially seeded, and $0.16/kg when naturally reseeded.
Abstract: A sample of 226 cash grain farms in the Lake States-Corn Belt region are analyzed to
estimate the impact of restricting pesticide use on profits. These 226 farms are classified into
small, medium, and large farms according to their sale revenues. The results suggest the
existence of pest management practices that could substantially reduce pesticide use without
incurring economic losses. The reductions in profits associated with gradual reductions in
pesticide expenditure appear to increase with farm size.
Abstract: Significant changes are occurring in the agribusiness sector; these changes will
dramatically impact the management of agribusiness firms from sourcing of inputs through
operations, finance, sales and marketing, to final customer contact. Awareness of these changes
is critical for strategic positioning and planning. We discuss 10 changes that we feel will have
profound implications for the future structure and performance of the agribusiness industries.
Abstract: Agricultural nonpoint source pollution is a multidimensional problem encompassing
several forms of contaminants and several environments (e.g., surface water and groundwater).
Environmental risk indices can account for differences in chemical attributes and aggregate
environmental outcomes across several forms of contaminants and environments. The objective
of this analysis is to develop three environmental risk indices and use the indices to compare the
environmental risk and economic returns associated with alternative production systems in the
Oklahoma Panhandle region of the Central High Plains. Three environmental risk indices are
developed that incorporate different information concerning the environmental effects of
pesticide use. The first index--the environmental impact quotient (EIQ)--incorporates only
chemical properties into the environmental risk assessment, while the two other indices--chemical environmental index (CINDEX) and chemical concentration index (CONC) also factor
in estimates of expected annual runoff and percolation loadings and concentrations, respectively.
Both statistical and graphical comparisons indicate that the three indices provide similar rankings
of alternative production systems based upon their potential environmental consequences. The
CONC index is characterized by greater volatility than the other indices, and its rankings of the
production activities are least correlated with those derived from the two other indices. Results
suggest some potential for reduction in environmental risk without large reductions in net
returns. Application of the EIQ index, which does not explicitly incorporate chemical loading or
concentration estimates, provides the highest estimate of income. income losses when CONC is
used as the risk measurement. Therefore, although the three indices generate similar rankings of
alternative production activities, their application can provide very different estimates of the
economic consequences of attaining environmental objectives.
Abstract: If growing season length and other factors necessary for crop production are adequate,
double-cropping could enhance and stabilize net farm returns. These potential advantages could
outweigh potential disadvantages, such as inadequate soil moisture, limited time available for
harvesting and planting, and greater yield variability with double-cropping. This study examines
the level and riskiness of real gross margins associated with crop rotations involving wheat-soybean double-cropping and single-cropping of wheat, soybeans, and grain sorghum. Optimal
crop rotations on a representative farm in Southeast Kansas are determined with and without
government commodity programs. The risk/return framework is modeled using Target MOTAD.
The Target MOTAD risk measure has desirable characteristics such as measurement of risk
relative to a fixed point that is meaningful to decision makers; and consistent with producers'
views of risk, only incomes below an acceptable level are undesirable. Research limitations
include: field-time and labor constraints that may not be representative; research center yields
and aggregate prices that may be less variable than farm-level yields and prices; and limitations
on the number of crops and rotations considered. However, static equilibrium models based on
historical data provide input into the decision-making process. Results indicate double-cropping
is favored over single-cropping. If commodity programs are eliminated, in the short-run more
risk-averse farmers who participate will face lower incomes and higher risk. Less risk-averse
decision makers may obtain higher incomes by double-cropping and not participating in
Abstract: Control of nonpoint source pollution often requires regulation of inputs, but first-best
solutions are unattainable. Because inputs are monitored by different agencies and regulatory
coordination can be costly, it may be more practical to regulate single inputs. A cost-effectiveness approach to determining the best single-input tax policy is developed and applied to
the question of reducing nitrate leaching from lettuce production in California. Water is the best
single input to regulate, and efficiency losses from this second-best approach appear not to be
great. Conditions for the welfare ranking of policies to be invariant to heterogeneity in
production or leaching are identified.
Abstract: The dairy forage system model (DAFOSYM) was expanded to include submodels for
the prediction of suitable days under a range of soil and crop residue conditions, draft of a wide
range of tillage and seeding implements, and scheduling of manure handling, tillage and planting
operations. Through simulation, the long-term performance, costs and net return for three tillage
and four manure handling systems were compared on 150 and 400-cow representative dairy
farms in Michigan. The analysis included all factors of milk production including manure
production, storage and application, tillage, planting, crop growth, harvest, feed storage, and
feeding. Mulch-tillage was the most economical tillage system, returning $15 to $26/cow-yr over
conventional tillage with a 30% reduction in machinery, fuel, and labor costs. The highest net
return among manure handling systems was associated with short-term storage and daily hauling,
but the economic advantage of this system diminished if credit was not given for the value of all
manure nutrients when spread daily. Long-term manure storage concentrated labor for spreading
in the spring and fall. This delayed tillage and planting and increased feed costs as much as
$24/cow-yr when manure hauling, tillage, and planting occurred in series. When labor and
machinery were available for parallel field operations, manure handling method had little effect
on the timeliness of tillage and planting.
Abstract: Passage of the 1990 Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act resulted from the
political influence of many environmental interest groups and, consequently, included many
conservation provisions. As agricultural policy has increasingly reflected the environmental
concerns of the public, farmers who participate in the Farm Program have adjusted their
production practices to conserve land and water resources, minimize use of agrichemicals, and
control animal wastes. Social exchange theory was used to examine personal and farm
characteristics that could affect agroenvironmental attitudes, Farm Program participation, and
conservation practices of Texas farmers (n = 1,063 farmers) in 1991. One in four farmers did not
participate in a federal commodity/conservation program. Less than 8 percent of the variation in
regulatory and environmental attitudes was explained by personal and farm characteristics,
compared to 30 percent of the variation in Farm Program participation and 14 percent in use of
conservation practices. Agroenvironmental attitudes and most background characteristics were
poor predictors of farm-related behaviors. Level of gross farm income was the best predictor of
farmers' attitudes and behaviors. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Abstract: New technology in crop production is emerging that can provide site-specific field and
crop detail information to some operators. Satellite positioning, commonly referred to as global
positioning systems, mapping software, and yield-monitoring equipment are all high-tech
methods of providing this precision agriculture. But precision agriculture, or at least long strides
in that direction, is possible short of these methods and capital investments. Integrated Crop
Management (ICM) is one alternative to providing information-intensive management and
precision farming, without the need for hard technology. Major elements of an ICM program
include thorough crop production and protection planning, crop rotations, tillage management,
and nutrient testing, as well as varying fertility rates based on manure and legume credits,
scouting for weeds/insects/diseases, and keeping and analyzing field based records. Inherent in
ICM is the involvement of the producer in increasing management tools and the knowledge base
to make a decision. This knowledge base is generated to a significant degree from on-farm or
site-specific observations. The Iowa Model Farms Demonstration Project (IMFDP) was an
extension service program established to encourage farmers to adopt ICM practices. Evaluation
of the program reveals that opportunities existed for refined practices among the sample of
cooperators, although this was not recognized by all, as nearly half of the original participants
did not complete the 3-yr project. Among those who remained in the project, several practices
were refined and resulted in increased profitability. Among participants who discontinued the
program, many perceived. acknowledged they did a poor job of stressing the successes and
noting cost savings made by these producers. Lack of detailed records did not allow a clear
analysis of the cost-benefit ratio of the program. While documented success of ICM is necessary,
a relationship of trust between the consultant and producer is also essential, for successful
implementation of ICM practices.
Abstract: Using the Iowa MAX program participant's survey data set, this study found that
conventional tillage (plowing, PL) resulted in lower profits per acre than most conservation
tillage systems (no-tail [NT], reduced-till [RE], ridge-till [RT], and mulch-till [MT]). The
primary reason for higher profits with conservation tillage systems is the difference in operating
costs. This study also found that it is not always true that conservation tillage uses more chemical
than PL. Ridge-till is very attractive in terms of profit and the expenditures on chemicals per
acre. This indicates that, other than conservation compliance, economic benefits may be another
major reason that farmers are adopting conservation tillage systems.
Abstract: Empirical evidence drawn from a Corn Belt case study is used to connect the
environmental and socioeconomic contradictions of agricultural production in the region. The
paper rests on several key arguments: First, a preliminary case is made for a more explicit
recognition of the theoretical and empirical links between the socioeconomic problems of
agricultural regions stemming from chronically low levels of producer surplus retention and
similar problems of social welfare associated with reduced levels of remunerated labor in the
industrial sector. Second, there is a parallel need for connecting the negative social and
environmental costs of capitalist agriculture. The case study uses the evolving production process
on individual farms as a means of exploring the causal relationship between the movement
towards capitalist social relations and environmental degradation resulting from intensive
patterns of synthetic chemical use. And third, the role of agency among family farmers faced
with a regional economic crisis emerges from the case study analysis. In the 1980s, a small
minority of Iowa farmers would adopt, perfect and disseminate a low-chemical input system of
production attuned to the logic of family farm social relations. The contribution of the state-sponsored research institutions was notably absent. The case example highlights the process of
technological change as a socially-constructed phenomenon subject to alternative forms of
rationality that emerge from different syntheses of ecological conditions and social relations.
Abstract: Agriculture and the environment are linked by a mutual reliance on scarce resources
and prevalent market distortions. In this paper we examine the efficiency costs of policies that
correct distortions in one sector while ignoring those in another. The dual distortions of an
environmental externality and water subsidies are studied in the context of irrigated agriculture in
California. The welfare costs associated with independent action by either a water agency or an
environmental authority when that policy maker attempts to correct the respective market
distortion without consideration of the distortion in the other market are estimated. Policies to
correct the two distortions are found to be complementary. Under these conditions, the
independent correction of either distortion improves welfare by at least $118 per acre. In most
cases, the simultaneous adoption of various second-best policies further reduces welfare losses
associated with these distortions.
Abstract: Agriculture is an important source of nonpoint source pollution and potential damage
to water quality. Voluntary incentives and regulatory policies are followed by both the states and
the federal government to reduce water quality damage from agricultural practices. Policy
makers are concerned about the relative effectiveness of each approach for protecting water
quality. The effectiveness of regulation versus a combination of voluntary incentive approaches
are evaluated for an area in central Nebraska. Policy effectiveness is measured in two parts: (1)
whether farmers receiving incentives are more likely to conduct soil or tissue nitrogen (N) tests;
and (2) whether farmers use the test results as the most important factor in N management
decisions. Personal interview surveys of Nebraska farmers were analyzed to determine farmers'
use of soil and/or tissue testing to help make N fertilizer decisions on fields planted to corn. The
effects of regulation and voluntary programs on the use of N testing were evaluated. The effects
on adoption of farmers' education and experience; type, size, and tenure status of the farm;
irrigation; and soil characteristics of the sample field were also considered. The results show that
while regulation leads to higher levels of N test adoption, it does not have an "educational" effect
on adopters. Voluntary incentive policies appear to be more effective in encouraging farmers to
use information from N tests. Regulation to enforce adoption of practices to protect water quality
may not induce the desired behavioral changes. Educational programs may be needed to
complement regulations to insure that farmers change their behavior to achieve the goals of water
Abstract: Two large-scale (25 ha) trials were initiated in 1989 in Wisconsin to compare six
alternative production systems regarding productivity, profitability, and environmental impact.
The project was designed and is managed by a coalition of farmers, extension agents and
research personnel. Deliberations between production-oriented and ecologically oriented team
members resulted in of factorial design, with two enterprise types (cash grain and forage-livestock) and three levels of biological complexity. Statistical methods have been used to
identify the most efficient plot size, plot shape, and block shape, and the optimal procedures for
sampling soil characteristics. A uniformity year was allowed before initiation of the trial and the
start was staggered. We defined treatments as production strategies rather than a specific set of
inputs, which led to a more flexible plot management program.
World Wide Web Sites
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
1996 Farm Bill Conservation Provisions
This Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) site focuses on the conservation provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996. Includes overview and digest of these conservation practices as well as fact sheets and Q&A files about individual provisions, some of which are listed below.
The Benefits of Protecting Rural Water Quality: An Empirical Analysis by Stephen R. Crutchfield, Peter M. Feather and Daniel R. Hellerstein (Natural Resources and Environment Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Economic Report No. 701)
This report explores the use of nonmarket valuation methods to estimate the benefits of protecting or improving rural water quality from agricultural sources of pollution. Two case studies show how these valuation methods can be used to include water-quality benefits estimates in economic analyses of specific policies to prevent or reduce water pollution.
Conservation Reserve Program
Find the latest news, publications, specifications, and data about the program on this Farm Service Agency (FSA) site.
Economic Valuation of Environmental Benefits and the Targeting of Conservation Programs: The Case of the CRP by Peter Feather, Daniel Hellerstein, and LeRoy Hansen (Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Economic Report No. 778)
The range of environmental problems confronting agriculture has expanded in recent years. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has broadened its initial focus on reductions in soil erosion to consider other landscape factors that may also be beneficial. For example, preserving habitats can help protect wildlife, thus leading to more nature-viewing opportunities. This report demonstrates how non-market valuation models can be used in targeting conservation programs such as the CRP.
Economic Research Service Domestic Conservation and Environmental Policies Briefing Room
This Economic Research Service (ERS) program conducts economic research on the efficiency, effectiveness and equity of policies and programs directed toward improving the environmental performance of the agricultural sector.
Economics of Water Quality Protection from Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice by Marc O. Ribaudo, Richard D. Horan, and Mark E. Smith (Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Economic Report No. 782.)
This report outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution (economic incentives, standards, education, liability, and research) and discusses empirical research related to the use of these instruments.
ERS Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators
These reports examine the economic factors that affect resource use and, when data permit, estimates the costs and benefits (to farmers, consumers, and the government) of meeting conservation and environmental goals.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Community-Based Environmental Protection (CBEP)
Community-Based Environmental Protection (CBEP) integrates environmental management with human needs, considers long-term ecosystem health and highlights the positive correlations between economic prosperity and environmental well-being. Tells where you can find publications, information, pointers for technical assistance and resources, case studies, tools, and links to other sites and a powerful and unique search engine.
Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters; Chapter 2: Management Measures for Agricultural Sources
This book chapter addresses six categories of sources of agricultural nonpoint pollution that affect coastal waters (erosion from cropland, confined animal facilities, the application of nutrients to cropland, the application of pesticides to cropland, grazing management and irrigation of cropland), and provides, in addition to other pertinent data, information on costs of the measure and/or practices to achieve the measure.
Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force
The Task Force was established to study the causes and effects of excessive nutrient runoff to the Mississippi River Basin and to coordinate and implement nutrient reduction activities to alleviate hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. This site provides background information about the program (charter, draft strategies listed below) and summaries of meeting of the group.
PESP Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center (ACIC)
ACIC, a part of EPA's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), offers technical resources and insurance policies in the areas of Integrated Pest Management and Conservation Innovation Risk.
Win-Win Strategy for Addressing Excessive Nutrient Enrichment of Waters within the Mississippi River Basin and on the Texas-Louisiana Inner Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico (Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force).
This document presents a strategy for reducing excessive nutrient enrichment in waters of the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River (MAR) Basin and in waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Louisiana inner continental shelf (sometimes referred to as the "dead zone"). This strategy seeks to take advantage of water quality improvement efforts underway or planned nationally, and therefore in the Basin. Water resources within the Basin--rivers, wetlands, lakes, and streams--and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to benefit from these efforts.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Evaluation of Economic Costs and Benefits of Methods for Reducing Nutrient Loads to the Gulf of Mexico
This report analyzes recommendations for reducing nitrogen losses to the Gulf of Mexico and indicates the relative costs and cost effectiveness of different control measures, as well as estimates of possible intra-Mississippi River Basin benefits. For major nonpoint sources like agriculture, national as well as basin costs and benefits are examined.
AgEcon Search: Research in Agriculture and Applied Economics
AgEcon Search is designed to index and electronically distribute full text reports of scholarly research in the field of agricultural and applied economics. [Search: environment* or use your own search strategy to access on-line publications.]
Conservation Title of the Federal Agricultural Improvement & Reform Act of 1996
(Agriculture & Business Management Economists, Agriculture and Resource Economics Department, Colorado State University)
This is a summary of the conservation title of the 1996 farm bill. It includes descriptions of such programs as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the new Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), Farmland Protection Program (FPP), and others.
How Do Economists Value the Environmental Effects of Livestock Production? by Carl V. Phillips (Minnesota Agricultural Economist, No. 697)
This article outlines some of the factors to consider when placing an economic value on the environmental effects of animal agriculture. While the authors did find a number of economic studies that partially addressed this issue, they found none that did a complete job. In their view, any study of animal agriculture must examine both on-farm and off-farm economic systems. The full study did so, but the authors focus this paper only on some of the off-farm costs and benefits that are not typically considered by livestock producers.
Incentive Programs For Improving Environmental Quality by Jon Rausch and Brent Sohngen (Agricultural Economics, Ohio State University Extension)
This fact sheet describes several incentive programs available in Ohio which target nonpoint sources of pollution.
Integrated Resource Management System (Center for Agricultural, Resource and Environmental System (CARES), Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC))
Integrated Resource Management System (IRMS) is a user friendly Internet-based decision support system. The system addresses total resource management and conservation practices by integrating ecological and economic models with a geographic information system (GIS).
Toward an Economics of Sustainability by John E. Ikerd (University of Missouri)
Economists tend to treat sustainability as a resource economics issue, a public policy issue, or an economic development issue. New theory, rather than new public policy based on old theory, will be needed to guide humanity toward sustainable development. The purpose of this paper is to outline a case for developing such a theory--an "economics of sustainability."
Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center (ACIC)
ACIC (Web site)
The Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center develops economically practical solutions to agricultural-environmental problems and makes these rapidly available to farmers and ranchers.
American Farm Bureau
Environment, Farm Bureau Working for You
Farmers are part of the environment and want to play positive roles in addressing environmental issues. Farm Bureau is leading the fight for common sense in environmental regulations. The purpose of Farm Bureau is to make the business of farming more profitable, and the community a better place to live.
[2000 edition is referenced.]
American Farmland Trust (AFT)
American Farmland Trust (Web site)
The American Farmland Trust is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to protect our nation's farmland. AFT works to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment. Of particular interest is the AFT Farmland Information Library, including farmland protection fact sheets, full-text literature, laws, maps, statistics and more resources.
Committee for the National Institute for the Environment (CNIE)
Conservation Reserve Program: Status and Current Issues by Jeffrey Zinn (Congressional Research Service)
In this Congressional Research Service (CRS) Issue Brief for Congress, the author addresses the background and legislative history of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), as well as some issues that remain over increasing the overall size of the CRP, offering shorter-term contracts as a new option, and changing environmental targets. These issues are being monitored by agricultural and environmental interests and both agriculture committees. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Status and Issues by Jeffrey Zinn (Congressional Research Service)
In this Congressional Research Service (CRS) Issue Brief for Congress, the author addresses the background and legislative history of the EQIP program, as well as some issues that were raised during the implementation process, including determining priority areas, funding, and the definition of large confined livestock operations.
Soil and Water Conservation Issues by Jeffrey Zinn (Congressional Research Service)
In this Congressional Research Service (CRS) Issue Brief for Congress, the author addresses the background and legislative history of core programmatic activities, including 1) implementing the Conservation Reserve Program to retire highly erodible or environmentally sensitive land; 2) implementing Conservation Compliance and Swampbuster Programs which remove incentives to cultivate highly erodible lands and wetlands; 3) implementing the Wetland Reserve Program to set aside agricultural wetlands; and 4) implementing EQIP.
Fox-Wolf Basin 2000
Watershed-Based Trading & The Law: Wisconsin's Experience
In recent years, there has been growing interest in developing watershed-based trading as a regulatory tool to meet water quality goals. The incentives driving that interest are generally twofold. On one level, wastewater treatment operations are increasingly looking for cost-effective alternatives to expensive capital investments in their plants in order to meet treatment demands. On a second level, society is seeking ways to correct ongoing water quality degradation that cannot be exclusively addressed by treatment plants. Trading is widely viewed as a win-win option to cooperatively meet both demands.
Navigating the American Heritage Rivers Initiative: Wasting Resources on Bureaucracy by Alexander F. Annett (Heritage Foundation background paper, No. 1231)
A view from the Heritage Foundation. Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute--a think tank--whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA)
Innovative Approaches to Natural Resource Protection: A Resource Management Planning Process Guide/Model for State Agencies and Others
The purpose of this document is to provide a step-by-step "how-to" guide for use by agricultural organizations; agricultural consultants and service providers; local, state, and federal agencies; or others who are interested in starting a voluntary, site-specific, comprehensive resource management planning (RMP) program for individual farmers and ranchers in a local community, watershed, or other geographic area.
Northeast Midwest Institute
Nonpoint Finance Project Summary of Findings and Recommendations
The Nonpoint Finance Project seeks to develop innovative ideas to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and integration of federal funding programs for NPS pollution remediation. The Project aims to ensure that every dollar spent on NPS pollution purchases the maximum NPS abatement possible. The Project explores NPS finance through forums involving key stakeholders, including the regulated community, regulators, funding program managers, environmental and agricultural organizations, finance experts, and academics.
Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS)
Soil and Water Conservation Society Position Paper: Sustainable Agriculture
In this position paper, the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) addresses the question, "What can SWCS do to speed development and adoption of sustainable systems?" Among the answers: "Develop a realistic approach to providing relative costs and benefits to adoption of sustainable practices. These costs and benefits should include economic, environmental, rural development, and social well-being."
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
ARS is the principal internal research agency of the USDA and conducts much research related to agriculture and the environment.
AGROS Agricultural Research Data Directory
AGROS, is a system for the management and application of USDA research data sets and related information. The directory module is a searchable inventory which contains a collection of data descriptions of USDA's research, including soil, crop and plant, forest, rangeland, and animal sciences, as well as nutrition, economics, population and other agricultural and natural resources.
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
In cooperation with its partners and customers, CSREES provides the focus to advance a global system of research, extension and higher education in the food and agricultural sciences and related environmental and human sciences to benefit people, communities, and the Nation.
EPA Compliance and Enforcement
This site is designed to provide a base for "first-stop shopping" for the agriculture community--one place for the development of comprehensive, easy-to-understand information about approaches to compliance that are both environmentally protective and agriculturally sound.
Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Through administration of conservation programs, FSA assists agricultural producers and landowners in achieving a high level of stewardship of soil, water, air, and wildlife resources on America's farmland and ranches.
National Agricultural Library (NAL) Information Centers
The work done by these resource centers emphasizes NAL's unique ability to help meet people's information needs on specialized topics.
Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)
SAN is the communications and outreach arm of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program--a USDA/CSREES-funded initiative that works to increase knowledge about--and help farmers and ranchers adopt--practices that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible.
University of Nebraska/Agricultural Network Information Center (AgNIC) Water Quality Node
The purpose of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Excellence in Water Quality Program is to provide high quality web-based information through AgNIC.
U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Resources Division
USGS has the principal responsibility within the federal government to provide the hydrologic information and understanding needed by others to achieve the best use and management of the Nation's water resources.
U.S. Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS)
GCDIS is the set of individual agency data and information systems. The GCDIS user community extends from global change researchers to other researchers, policymakers, educators, private industry, and private citizens. Through the GCDIS, all communities will be able to learn what data and information are available, have the key holdings available in useful forms with ready access, and be assured of their quality and continued availability.
U.S. Global Change Research Information Office(GCRIO)
The US Global Change Research Information Office (GCRIO) provides access to data and information on global environmental change research, adaptation/mitigation strategies and technologies, and global change related educational resources on behalf of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and its participating Federal Agencies and Organizations. GCRIO distributed more than 40,000 copies of publications to people in the United States and 110 other countries, and responded to thousands of questions about global change through "ASK Dr. Global Change" which is accessible at the Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS) (See URL above). GCRIO is implemented by The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University.
Agri-Environmental Policy at the Crossroads: Guideposts on a Changing Landscape By Roger Claassen, LeRoy Hansen, Mark Peters, Vince Breneman, Marca Weinberg, Andrea Cattaneo, Peter Feather, Dwight Gadsby, Daniel Hellerstein, Jeff Hopkins, Paul Johnston, Mitch Morehart, Mark Smith (Natural Resources and Environment Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Economic Report No. 794)
''This report identifies the types of policy tools available and the design features that have improved the effectiveness of current agri-environmental programs. It provides an in-depth analysis of one policy tool that may be an important component of a future policy package-agri-environmental payments. The analysis focuses on issues and tradeoffs that policymakers would face in designing a program of agri-environmental payments.''
Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems; Criterion 5: First Approximation Report (Oregon Department of Forestry)
Report outlines criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of forests and includes sustainable forest values represented by economic, environmental and social values. A forest's ability to store carbon is seen as one of these values. Carbon sequestration details are considered under Criterion 5, Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems.
Proceed to the Water Quality Information Center (WQIC) at the National Agricultural Library.
Last update: December 29, 2004
The URL of this page is http://www.nal.usda.gov/wqic/ResourceGuide.html