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Can peers help improve crop revenues in villages in India?

Why do some farmers earn more than others? Scholars have worked to explain the large observed differences in economic outcomes across firms, households, and industries. In developing countries, where small farmers often face limited access to agricultural markets, their agricultural revenues can vary dramatically within the same region, even after accounting for differences in capital […]

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Whose Loss is it Anyway? Incentives to Reduce Grain Losses in Southern Brazil

Global food security and environmental sustainability should not be conflicting goals, but too often they seem to be. Tackling food security purely by increasing production requires additional use of land, water, pesticides, and fertilizers. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations reports that one-third of all food is lost or wasted worldwide. Decreasing […]

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Wetter Wet Seasons, Drier Dry Seasons Harm Agriculture and Fuel Conflict in Asia

Climate change is set to disrupt weather patterns in many parts of the world. Many places will become hotter on average, some will see more rainfall than they used to, others less. But changes to average temperatures and precipitation are not the only thing we should worry about. Recent evidence shows that, over the past […]

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Does Food Cost More in Food Deserts?

Recent research has found that in the United States, limited access to healthy food is associated with a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables, and a higher probability of obesity and other dietary related health problems. Areas with limited food access and low average incomes are often referred to as food deserts. Several federal, state, […]

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Small Farmer Fertilizer Subsidies and Child Health — Evidence from Malawi

In a previous post I wrote about the potential significance of new “smart subsidies” for agricultural inputs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi have initiated such programs to help populations of small farmers acquire mineral fertilizer and hybrid seed at a lower cost. One key objective is to increase staple cereal yields from these […]

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Thinking about the Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit and the History of Drainage

In March 2015, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) filed a lawsuit against three Iowa drainage districts because of nitrate problems in Des Moines drinking water supplies. It alleges the nitrates have leached out of farm fields, through drainage district tiles, and ended up in the city’s drinking water supply. In July, the water utility reported […]

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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 […]

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Cropland Price Determinants and Risk Premiums

Cropland prices across the United States have appreciated at record levels in recent years. After a U.S. recession, in which a bubble in real estate prices was a factor, some have questioned if cropland prices are in a bubble. Schnitkey, Sherrick, and Kuethe (2014) show that the increase in cropland returns and the decline in […]

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