Topmost menu

Archive | Economics

New Research Directions on the Economic Impact of Climate Change on U.S. Agriculture

The attention generated by the impact of the summer 2012 drought on the Corn Belt exemplifies how vital it is for the U.S. agricultural sector to understand climate change and how to mitigate and/or adapt to it. While there is little controversy about whether agriculture is sensitive to changes in climatic conditions, significant uncertainty exists […]

Continue Reading

“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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Trading Off Fracked Natural Gas for Coal in China

China’s enormous growth in the past few decades stimulated a high demand for energy that historically has been fueled by coal. However, obtaining natural gas from fracking shale formations is becoming an economical competitor to coal in China because of advances in technology and economic incentives provided by the Chinese government (Thomas, p.1). Between 1984 […]

Continue Reading