Volume 31, Issue 2, August 2006

Communities throughout the Western United States are challenged by tight water supplies and swelling populations. Information is needed to better develop and target municipal water conservation programs. Significant water savings ranging from 35% to 70% are possible from changes in residential landscaping and improved management of outside watering, which often accounts for more than 50% of total residential water use. This study examines landscape choices of homeowners in three cities in New Mexico in order to identify and measure behavioral factors affecting water conservation. Using survey data, landscape choices are analyzed with a mixed logit model that assesses the effects of landscape and homeowner characteristics on choice probabilities. Model coefficients and implied elasticities indicate that water cost, education, and regional culture are significant determinants of landscape choices. In addition, the results suggest moral suasion can also have a positive influence toward water-conserving landscapes.
By: Devadoss, Stephen; Holland, David W.; Stodick, Leroy; Ghosh, Joydeep
The discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003 reverberated across the beef and cattle industry. This study employs a general equilibrium model to analyze the potential economic effects of mad cow disease on the beef, cattle, and other meat industries under three scenarios, ranging form most favorable to most pessimistic. The scenario with 90% foreign demand decline and 10% domestic demand reduction generates results consistent with the actual outcomes after the mad cow disease outbreak. Only if domestic demand declines significantly will the economic hardship in the U.S. beef and cattle industry be very large.
By: Wilson, William W.; Huso, Scott R.
Release of a genetically modified (GM) crop variety would lower prices of competing pesticides used on conventional varieties. This causes an increase in surplus for those farmers who adopt the GM variety, as well as for those who plant the conventional variety. A Cournot model was developed to determine the equilibrium quantities of conventional pesticides. A market with conventional wheat was compared to a market with both conventional and GM wheat varieties to identify price decreases of the conventional pesticide as a result of the GM trait introduction.
By: Hennessy, David A.
Feeder animal prices depend on fed animal prices, the biological growth technology, and feed costs. In addition, daily maintenance costs can be avoided through accelerated feeding. These observations allow us to model optimal feeding under equilibrium feeder animal pricing. Our model enables a better understanding of regulation in feedstuff markets. The feeder animal price-weight schedule is likely decreasing and convex in weight. Prices for animals with better growth potential should be less sensitive to feed and fed animal prices. Prices for lighter animals should be more sensitive to these prices. Regression analyses on Southern Great Plains cattle prices provide support for this model.
By: Vedenov, Dmitry V.; Epperson, James E.; Barnett, Barry J.
This article makes an initial attempt to design catastrophe (CAT) bond products for agriculture and examines the potential of these instruments as mechanisms for transferring agricultural risks from insurance companies to investors/speculators in the global capital market. The case of Georgia cotton is considered as a specific example. The CAT bond contracts are based on percentage deviations of realized state average yields relative to the long-run average. The contracts are priced using historical state-level cotton yield data. The principal finding of the study is that the proposed CAT bonds demonstrate potential as risk transfer mechanisms for crop insurance companies.
By: Keplinger, Keith O.; Hauck, Larry M.
A model of manure utilization is developed and applied to four types of transportable manure. Model results highlight important response differences among manure types and generally illustrate the diseconomies of manure production. For example, as manure production increases, manure value decreases and excess phosphate applications increase, thereby increasing the potential for phosphorus runoff. Policy scenarios limiting the manure application rate reduce manure value and excess phosphate application. Increasing the ratio of land using manure increases manure value while reducing excess phosphate application. Buildup of soil nutrients reduces manure value, but either increases or decreases excess phosphate application depending on the scenario.
By: Hu, Wuyang; Zhong, Funing; Ding, Yulian
Information has been proven to have significant impacts on consumers' behavior and willingness to pay (WTP). In this study, information on GM soybean oil is given in the form of real-life cases involving GM food. These cases recorded from actual media reports. Using a hybrid of the double-bounded and payment care elicitation approaches, Chinese consumers' WTP for soybean oil is examined both before and after these cases are presented to them. Results indicate that media reports on positive cases do not increase consumers' WTP significantly, while reports on negative cases drastically lower their WTP.
By: Streicher, Gerhard; Schmid, Erwin; Salhofer, Klaus
This study presents a general model demonstrating how to measure the (in)efficiency of a policy intended to meet objectives. If it is assumed that the government has available only those policy instruments it actually utilizes, our method is a test as to whether the government combines these instruments efficiently. In addition, one could also include other policy instruments, which are not actually used, but are available to the government. Our general model is applied to bread grain policy in Austria. The primary result is that the policy was quite inefficient in meeting the two main objectives of farm income support and self-sufficiency. The stochastic nature of our efficiency measures is acknowledged by taking into account the inherent uncertainty of model parameters. A response surface function is used to identify those parameters which contribute most to model output uncertainty.
By: Good, Darrel L.; Irwin, Scott H.; Isengildina, Olga
This study investigates the impact of six major USDA reports in hog and cattle markets: Cattle; Cattle on Feed; Cold Storage; Hogs and Pigs; Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (LDPO); and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). A TARCH-in-mean model, with dummy variables to measure the impact of USDA reports and other external factors, is used to model close-to-open live-lean hog and live cattle futures returns from January 1985 through December 2004. The analysis revealed a statistically significant impact of all but Cattle and Cold Storage reports in live/lean hog futures, and all but Cold Storage reports in live cattle futures. Hogs and Pigs reports had the highest impact on live/lean hog returns by increasing conditional standard deviation 96%. Cattle, Cattle on Feed, and Hogs and Pigs reports had the highest impact on live cattle returns by increasing conditional standard deviation between 26% and 37.5%.
By: Edwards, Mark Evan; Weber, Bruce A.; Bernell, Stephanie L.
This study examines the extent to which household demographics, local economic and social conditions, and federal food security programs explain the likelihood of household food insecurity in Oregon. Between 1999 and 2001, Oregon had the highest average rate of hunger in the nation and ranked in the top five states with respect to food insecurity. Statistical analyses using a multivariate logit model reveal that food insecurity is influenced by much more than demographics and individual choices. County-level factors such as residential location (urban versus rural) and housing costs significantly affect the likelihood that families will be food insecure.
By: Roberts, Roland K.; English, Burton C.; Larson, James A.
Research has evaluated the relative profitability of variable-rate (VRT) versus uniform-rate (URT) application of a single input in fields with multiple management zones. This study addresses map-based VRT decisions for multiple inputs in fields with multiple management zones. The decision-making framework is illustrated for nitrogen and water applied to irrigated cotton in fields with three management zones. Results suggest traditional methods of determining VRT application of a single input may by suboptimal if interactions exist among VRT inputs and URT inputs. Implications are that a systems approach to multiple-input VRT decisions can produce increased net returns to VRT.
By: Johnston, Robert J.; Roheim, Cathy A.
Consumers face pressure from environmental groups to modify their seafood purchase decisions based on concerns about fisheries' production practices. Existing research provides little information indicating whether seafood consumers are willing to change purchasing behavior based on a product's environmental attributes, to the exclusion of other attributes. We describe a contingent ranking experiment addressing preferences for fresh seafood, allowing for choices among different species, some displaying an ecolabel. Results suggest consumers consider overfishing sufficiently important to contemplate changing the species of fish they buy; however, they are unwilling to choose a less-favored species based solely on the presence of an ecolabel.
By: Hurley, Sean P.; Miller, Douglas J.; Kliebenstein, James B.
Bid data from a Vickrey auction for pork chops with embedded environmental attributes were analyzed. It was found that approximately 62% of the participants had a positive WTP for the most "environmentally friendly" package of pork. Thirty percent of the participants had no WTP, and 8% had a negative WTP. A polychotomous choice model was used to accommodate data having an anchoring point within the distribution of the data. Standard variables found in the WTP literature coupled with this model were used to predict participants who were premium payers and non-premium payers using an estimated ordered probit equation.
By: Hurley, Terrance M.; Langrock, Ines; Ostlie, Kenneth
This paper estimates farmer benefits for corn rootworm (CRW) active Bt corn and costs of complying with Environmental Protection Agency insect resistance management requirements. The estimates are obtained from farmer survey data that were collected in Minnesota in 2002, just prior to the commercial releases of CRW Bt corn. Benefit estimates range from $14 to $33.4 million, while compliance cost estimated range from $3.5 to $8.7 million depending on whether or not CRW Bt corn also controlled the European corn borer and whether of not it was approved for sale in major export markets.
The objective of this study is to analyze the determinants of private agricultural R&D investment in the United States and the liaison between public and private R&D sectors. The empirical analysis employs U.S. agricultural data for the 1970-1996 period. The results show that federal R&D obligations for basic research, used as a proxy for the complementary role of public R&D, have a significant and positive impact on private agricultural R&D spending. In contrast, federal R&D obligations for applied research, used as a proxy for the substitute role of public R&D, are not found to have a significant impact.