Volume 29, Issue 3, December 2004

By: Nahuelhual, Laura; Loureiro, Maria L.; Loomis, John B.
To test for preference heterogeneity in dichotomous choice contingent valuation responses, a random parameter logit (RPL) specification is used in this analysis. The RPL model confirms heterogeneity in respondents' preferences for protection of public open space, as reflected in statistically significant standard deviations of the normally distributed random parameters. Results show that while the majority of respondents indicate a positive willingness to pay (WTP), a minority of those surveyed report a negative WTP. Some of this variation in tastes remains even after individual characteristics and attitudinal variables are included in the model.
By: Ball, V. Eldon; Lovell, C.A. Knox; Luu, H.; Nehring, Richard F.
Agricultural production is known to have environmental impacts, both adverse and beneficial, and it is desirable to incorporate at least some of these impacts in an environmentally sensitive productivity index. In this paper, we construct indicators of water contamination from the use of agricultural chemicals. These environmental indicators are merged with data on marketed outputs and purchased inputs to form a state-by-year panel of relative levels of outputs and inputs, including environmental impacts. We do not have prices for these undesirable by products, since they are not marketed. Consequently, we calculate a series of Malmquist productivity indexes, which do not require price information. Our benchmark scenario is a conventional Malmquist productivity index based on marketed outputs and purchased inputs only. Our comparison scenarios consist of environmentally sensitive Malmquist productivity indexes that include indicators of risk to human health and to aquatic life from chronic exposure to pesticides. In addition, we derive a set of virtual prices of the undesirable by-products that can be used to calculate an environmentally sensitive Fisher index of productivity change.
By: Norwood, F. Bailey; Lusk, Jayson L.; Brorsen, B. Wade
Little research has been conducted on evaluating out-of sample forecasts of discrete dependent variables. This study describes the large and small sample properties of two forecast evaluation techniques for discrete dependent variables: receiver-operator curves and out-of-sample log-likelihood functions. The methods are shown to provide identical model rankings in large samples and similar rankings in small samples. The likelihood function method is better at detecting forecast accuracy in small samples. By improving forecasts of fed cattle quality grades, the forecast evaluation methods are shown to increase cattle marketing revenues by $2.59/head.
By: Feuz, Dillon M.; Umberger, Wendy J.; Calkins, Chris R.; Sitz, Bethany M.
In a study of beef quality, consumers tasted steak samples and participated in an experimental auction to determine their willingness to pay. Steaks differed in marbling, tenderness, country of origin, and aging method. Marbling and tenderness had statistically significant impacts on consumers' palatability ratings for steaks. Tenderness significantly impacted consumers' willingness-to pay values. There appear to be threshold levels of marbling and tenderness, below which consumers discount steaks. Steaks from Australia were rated lower for overall acceptability, and bids were lower than for the U.S. steak samples. Dry-aging methods negatively impacted taste panel ratings and bids.
By: Hoag, Dana L.; Lacy, Michael G.; Davis, Jessica
Little is known about producers' willingness to use manure. Past studies have focused on substitutability for fertilizers. We surveyed crop producers in a cattle-dense region of the Colorado Plains about whether and why they apply manure, focusing on how pressures (like owning cattle) or preferences (pro and con) affect their adoption. Using logistic regression, findings show that pressure and preference (PS/PF) significantly affect adoption. A producer with high PS/PF was 10 times more likely to use manure than one with low PS/PF. Policy and decision makers can use such findings to inform education and policy aimed at increasing the land application of manure.
By: Vedenov, Dmitry V.; Barnett, Barry J.
This study analyzes efficiency of weather derivatives as primary insurance instruments for six crop reporting districts that are among the largest producers of corn, cotton, and soybeans in the United States. Specific weather derivatives are constructed for each crop/district combination based on analysis of several econometric models. The performance of the designed weather derivatives is then analyzed both in- and out-of-sample. The primary findings suggest that the optimal structure of weather derivatives varies widely across crops and regions, as does the risk-reducing performance of the optimally designed weather derivatives. Further, optimal weather derivatives required rather complicated combinations of weather variables to achieve reasonable fits between weather and yield.
By: Smith, Aaron D.; Goe, W. Richard; Kemey, Martin; Morrison Paul, Catherine J.
This study uses data from a 2001 survey of Great Plains farmers to explore the adoption, usage patterns, and perceived benefits of computers and the Internet. Adoption results suggest that exposure to the technology through college, outside employment, friends, and family is ultimately more influential than farmer age and farm size. Notably, about half of those who use the Internet for farm-related business report zero economic benefits from it. Whether a farmer perceives that the Internet generates economic benefits depends primarily on how long the farmer has used the Internet for farm business and for what purposes.
By: Onyango, Benjamin M.; Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr.
This study examines consumer's willingness to consume different types of a nutritionally enhanced food product (i.e., breakfast cereal with calcium, omega fatty acids, or anti-oxidants) derived from grains genetically modified using two types of technologies: plant-to-plant gene transfer technology and animal-to plant gene transfer technology. Findings indicate a majority of the respondents are willing or somewhat willing to consume the three types of nutritionally enhanced genetically modified breakfast cereal, but are less willing if the genetically modified product is derived from animal-to-plant gene transfer technology than from plant-to-plant gene transfer technology. However, the results of the ordered probit models suggest there are groups of consumers who will not approve of the use of either type of gene transfer technology even with the presence of an enhanced nutritional benefit in the product.
By: Lichtenberg, Erik
While there is current interest in reorienting agricultural policy toward environmental and resource conservation goals, relatively little is known about the influence of cost on conservation adoption decisions or about how farmers combine multiple practices into an overall conservation package. Using farmer survey data combined with information on standard unit installation costs, this study estimates latent demand models for seven on-farm conservation practices. All of the practices exhibit downward-sloping demand. Topographical variations in adoption conform to expectations. The estimation results suggest that cost sharing should have substantial effects on the adoption of several practices, and indicate strong complementarity among others.
By: Rollins, Kimberly S.; Heigh, Lori; Kanetkar, Vinay
This study models net welfare impacts on producers who receive utility from on-farm wildlife populations that are not costlessly disposable. Wildlife damage levels where net benefits are zero indicate producers' maximum willingness to pay for on-farm wildlife. An empirical model is developed. Results for Ontario producers suggest the net welfare loss from damage is approximately half of the value of the yield loss for those with damage. In aggregate, however, on-farm wildlife generates net benefits to producers that outweigh costs by about 10-to-1. The distribution of net benefits is highly skewed across producers.
By: Fausti, Scott W.; Diersen, Matthew A.
The informational value of USDA's former voluntary price reporting system is investigated for dressed-weight slaughter steers sold by South Dakota producers. The ability of the former system to promote price transparency in the cash market is evaluated using state-level mandatory price reporting data collected from September 1999 to April 2001. The empirical framework examines the informational value of public price reports according to the criteria established in the market integration literature. The empirical results indicate that in the South Dakota cash market for dressed weight steers, the voluntary price reporting system fostered price transparency, and thus contributed to the price discovery process. Empirical evidence is also presented suggesting that strategic price reporting by market participants to influence the voluntary price reporting system was not detected during the period covered in this study.