Kenkel, Philip L.
Mesoscale weather networks can provide improved weather information to agricultural producers. This technology can potentially improve production decisions, reduce irrigation and pesticide inputs, and reduce weather-related losses. Developing a mesoscale network to disseminate real-time mesoscale weather information requires a substantial investment. In addition, there are costs associated with maintenance of the system and distribution of the information available. While public funds may be available to support initial development of the system, there may be less public support initial development of the system, there may be less public support for maintaining the system and subsidizing users' access to the information. This study uses the contingent valuation technique to determine the willingness of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, as one set of potential users, to pay for real-time mesoscale weather information. The results indicate that agricultural producers are willing to pay only a modest fee for improved weather information. Gross sales, irrigation, and past weather losses are among the factors shown to significantly impact willingness to pay.
Buyer complaints about poor quality U.S. wheat have led to proposals to enforce minimum dockage standards for exports. An economic-engineering approach is used to evaluate costs and benefits of cleaning wheat in order to meet these standards for 13 possible cleaning configurations. These results are used in an optimization framework to estimate costs and benefits of cleaning all U.S. export wheat. The estimates indicate that cleaning U.S. export winter wheat to .35% dockage would cost an average of 1 cent/bu., requiring an initial capital investment of $28 million. Value of wheat lost in cleaning is a significant cost that previously has been overlooked.