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Higher US crop prices trigger little area expansion so marginal land for biofuel crops is limited

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Author Info

  • Swinton, Scott M.
  • Babcock, Bruce A.
  • James, Laura K.
  • Bandaru, Varaprasad

Abstract

By expanding energy biomass production on marginal lands that are not currently used for crops, food prices increase and indirect climate change effects can be mitigated. Studies of the availability of marginal lands for dedicated bioenergy crops have focused on biophysical land traits, ignoring the human role in decisions to convert marginal land to bioenergy crops. Recent history offers insights about farmer willingness to put non-crop land into crop production. The 2006-09 leap in field crop prices and the attendant 64% gain in typical profitability led to only a 2% increase in crop planted area, mostly in the prairie states. At this rate, a doubling of expected profitability from biomass crops would expand cropland supply by only 3.2%. Yet targets for cellulosic ethanol production in the US Energy Independence and Security Act imply boosting US planted area by 10% or more with perennial biomass crops. Given landowner reluctance to expand crop area with familiar crops in the short run, large scale expansion of the area in dedicated bioenergy crops will likely be difficult and costly to achieve.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 5254-5258

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:9:p:5254-5258

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

Related research

Keywords: Marginal land Cellulosic ethanol Supply elasticity;

References

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  1. Song, Feng & Zhao, Jinhua & Swinton, Scott M., 2009. "Switching to Perennial Energy Crops under Uncertainty and Costly Reversibility," Staff Papers 56195, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  2. Ruben N. Lubowski & Andrew J. Plantinga & Robert N. Stavins, 2007. "What Drives Land-Use Change in the United States? A National Analysis of Landowner Decisions," NBER Working Papers 13572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ian W. Hardie & Peter J. Parks, 1997. "Land Use with Heterogeneous Land Quality: An Application of an Area Base Model," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 299-310.
  4. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
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Cited by:
  1. Ciaian, Pavel & Kancs, d'Artis & Rajcaniova, Miroslava, 2012. "Bioenergy and Land Use Change," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126379, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Brown, Jesslyn F. & Pervez, Md Shahriar, 2014. "Merging remote sensing data and national agricultural statistics to model change in irrigated agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 28-40.

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