Volume 43, Issue 2, May 2018

By: Rosburg, Alicia; Menapace, Luisa
Fungal disease management in U.S. corn production has undergone a major shift in the last 2 decades. The decision to apply fungicide, a management practice that was once rarely considered, is now contemplated annually by many U.S. corn producers. We investigate potential factors underlying the fungicide treatment decision. We use economics, agronomy, and plant pathology literature to develop a conceptual model of the fungicide treatment decision and test the model using a survey of Midwest corn producers. We find the treatment decision is positively related to perceived economic gains, but heuristic factors also have a strong influence.
By: Bekkerman, Anton; Weaver, David K.
Many invasive and opportunistic pests cause multiple, interdependent adverse outcomes on agricultural production. Often, however, these impacts are modeled independently, which can bias empirical inferences and contribute to inaccurate recommendations. We use a copula function to more accurately model the joint behavior and provide an empirical example of its application to assess the impacts of the wheat stem sawfly (WSS). We use a unique farm-level dataset to estimate the expected losses associated with WSS and then evaluate two popular WSS management strategies. We find that strategies minimizing long-run infestation levels are preferred to those that seek to maximize yield potential in exchange for higher risk of intertemporal infestation.
By: Ifft, Jennifer; Bigelow, Daniel P.; Savage, Jeffrey
Given the expansive water consumption of the agricultural sector in the western United States, irrigation practices have increasingly been restricted as a way to combat water scarcity. Using segment-level panel data on land values and irrigation status, we measure the extent to which irrigation restrictions are capitalized into irrigated and nonirrigated cropland values in Nebraska. On average, irrigation restrictions did not have a measurable impact on farmland values across 1999–2012. However, our results show that the effects of the restrictions vary considerably over time and that basins that were more dependent on irrigation were disproportionately impacted by the restrictions.
By: Green, Gareth P.; Richards, Timothy J.
Understanding individual discounting behavior of future costs and benefits is critical for designing environmental policy. Although there is some empirical evidence of hyperbolic discounting, others have found that exponential discounting is more accurate when behavioral factors are properly considered. Further, there is little research on how environmental discount rates differ from monetary rates. We use experimental methods to determine how individuals discount monetary and environmental goods. Our findings suggest that individual discounting behavior is approximately exponential, environmental goods are discounted at lower rates than monetary goods, and discount rates vary widely across environmental goods when accounting for appropriate behavioral factors.
By: Dennis, Elliott J.; Schroeder, Ted C.; Renter, David G.; Pendell, Dustin L.
Although several studies have estimated economic impacts of antimicrobials for growth promotion, little is known about economic impacts of the common animal health management strategy known as metaphylaxis: administering antimicrobials to groups of animals to prevent disease. This article develops a new framework to map animal disease to producer profitability and determine societal economic impacts surrounding metaphylactic use of antimicrobials in beef cattle production. Results indicate the direct net return value of metaphylaxis to the U.S. fed cattle industry is at least $532 million. Beef producer surplus losses of $1.8 billion would be associated with eliminating metaphylaxis.
By: Smed, Sinne; Hansen, Lars Garn
We estimate a model that allows consumers’ food demand to depend on both the health effects and the consumption experience generated by the consumption of nutrients contained in food. We use home scan data of food purchases from approximately 2,500 Danish consumers enriched with nutrient content information. More-educated consumers have healthier diets than those with less education, and we find that this is explained by differences in how these groups value the consumption experience associated with nutrients, not by differences in their health valuation of nutrients.
By: Russell, Levi A.
This paper examines the effects of interest group Political Action Committee (PAC) spending on the passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014. I use a mixed-process model to examine correlations between ideology, constituent characteristics, and PAC contributions by agricultural and environmental interests and the probability that a legislator voted in favor of the act. I find a positive association between agricultural and environmental PAC contributions and the probability that a legislator voted in favor of the act. Further, I find that legislators representing relatively large rural populations were more likely to vote in favor of the act.
By: Schaak, Henning; Musshoff, Oliver
Milk production methods and pasture usage have gained increasing attention in recent years. This paper studies possible influences on the decision to adopt grazing practices as well as on the extent of these practices. German dairy farms were analyzed using a multivariate sample-selection model. Results indicate that specialized farms and farms with greater pasture acreage per cow are more likely to adopt grazing practices; farms with larger herds are less likely to adopt. For farmers utilizing grazing, length of daily pasture access depends on production-related variables, while the annual period depends only on farm specialization.