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Archive | Agriculture

“You Quit??” – Small Farmer Contracting and the Importance of Dropout

Over the past 20 years, international trade liberalization and various reforms have dismantled many government controls on agricultural markets in the developing world, opening new commercial spheres for farm products and new marketing choices for farmers in the Global South[1]. One class of these opportunities is linked to the modernization and expansion of agricultural value […]

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Reviewing USDA’s Revised Conservation Compliance Regulation

On Friday, April 24, 2015, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) published its regulation for attaching conservation compliance to the portion of premium covered by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), known as premium subsidy. Section 2611 of the 2014 Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) made Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetlands conservation compliance provisions […]

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Why formal credit eludes African smallholder farmers and the role of village moneylenders

Eyeballing the bowl of ugali lying on the rough-edged wooden table for eight, the African farmer feels once again let down by those more powerful than herself: weather, God and government. Rewinding this year’s events, the rain was unmoved by the collective prayers and tantalized villagers with an elusive appearance. With pest killers selling at […]

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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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