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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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Income inequality and educational inequality: Comparing the U.S. and Brazil

In 2014, stories about rising inequality in the United States made headlines. In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama focused on inequality, saying “Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.” A book by a French economist about inequality, Capital by Thomas Piketty, became an unexpected best seller. One of the most important […]

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The Changing Landscape of the Organic Food Industry

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 authorized the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish national standards for the marketing of organically produced products. In response to this, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed the National Organic Program, which was issued in 2000. According to the USDA-AMS website, an organic label “indicates […]

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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 […]

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How can we preserve the Monarch butterfly?

After disastrously low numbers last year, the butterfly count released earlier this week finds that monarch buttery numbers are up at their overwintering site in central Mexico. Each fall, millions of butterflies from east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to a handful of mountain tops in central Mexico where they find the unique climatic conditions […]

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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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Little Evidence that the National Food Authority can Influence the Price of Rice in the Philippines

Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. It accounts for 1/3 of the total food consumption (in terms of domestic utilization in metric tons) and is grown on about 4 million hectares of the total 13 million hectares of arable land (Glipo, Vibal and Cainglet, 2002). The Philippine government has made numerous attempts 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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