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Archive | Agriculture

How Does Changing Ethanol Capacity Affect Local Corn Basis?

Over the past decade, the United States has experienced a dramatic boom in ethanol production. The rapid expansion of ethanol was largely driven by the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), first introduced in 2005, which mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel are produced per year by 2022, 15 billion gallons of which can come […]

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Who Benefits from Agricultural Subsidies?

Who benefits from farm subsidies? If you ask a farmer, you’ll get the answer, “I do.” Ask an economist, however, and you will get an entirely different answer. Here are quotes from some prominent economists that convey the conventional wisdom. Andrew Schmitz and Richard Just: A large share of the benefits of an agricultural subsidy […]

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Growing a Sustainable Biofuel Economy: Part 1

The Environmental Appeal of Second-Generation Biofuels Second-generation biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks that were until recently thought to be always “five years away,” are now being produced commercially. In 2014, about 18 million gallons were produced, which was substantially higher than the 432,000 gallons produced in 2013. Poet-DSM and Abengoa are two of the refineries that […]

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Exploring the Environmental Regulation of Agriculture: Accounting for Weather

A previous article opened a discussion on the general challenges with regulating agriculture; this article continues that discussion along with the focus on water quality issues and nutrient losses. Both the farmer and the regulator stand in a similar position: the farmer prefers not to lose nutrients from the fields where they are intended to […]

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The Taxation of Agricultural Land in the United States

Concern about loss of prime farmland has long been a major public policy concern. Many of the policies enacted in efforts to slow conversion along the urban fringe originated shortly after World War II as rapidly transforming cities expanded resulting in farmland being converted to residential, commercial, and industrial uses. One of the policy instruments […]

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The Link between Farm Policy and Farmland Values

One of the principal objectives of farm policy is to provide a financial safety net for America’s farmers. Since the depression era of the early 1930s, the Federal government has provided an ever-changing suite of policy tools designed to bolster farm incomes, limit financial volatility, and ensure the livelihood of America’s farm sector. The programs […]

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A Brief History of Farm Conservation Policy

Across the divide from the challenging realities of regulating nonpoint source pollution and agriculture reside the natural resource conservation policies for farmers contained in the omnibus legislation commonly known as the farm bill. The suite of conservation programs tend to avoid the sharp-edged debate surrounding environmental regulation, as well as the harsh criticism aimed at […]

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