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Switching to Perennial Energy Crops Under Uncertainty and Costly Reversibility

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  • Feng Song
  • Jinhua Zhao
  • Scott M. Swinton

Abstract

We study a farmer's decision to convert traditional cropland into land for growing dedicated energy crops, taking into account sunk conversion costs and uncertainties in crop returns. The optimal decision rules differ significantly from the expected net present value rule, which ignores uncertainties, and from real options models that allow only one-way conversion into energy crops. These models also predict drastically different patterns of land conversions into and out of energy crops over time. Using corn--soybean rotation and switchgrass as examples, we show that the model predictions are sensitive to assumptions about stochastic processes of the returns. Government policies might have unintended consequences: subsidizing conversion costs into switchgrass may not much affect proportions of land in switchgrass in the long run. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 764-779

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:93:y:2011:i:3:p:764-779

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Cited by:
  1. Kumarappan, Subbu & Joshi, Satish V., 2012. "Optimal biomass-harvesting model for biobutanol biorefineries," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124717, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Swinton, Scott M. & Babcock, Bruce A. & James, Laura K. & Bandaru, Varaprasad, 2011. "Higher US crop prices trigger little area expansion so marginal land for biofuel crops is limited," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5254-5258, September.
  3. Rosburg, Alicia & Miranowski, John & Jacobs, Keri, 2013. "Cellulosic Biofuel Supply with Heterogeneous Biomass Suppliers: An Application to Switchgrass-based Ethanol," Staff General Research Papers 36359, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Mooney, Daniel F. & Barham, Bradford L. & Lian, Chang, 2013. "Sustainable Biofuels, Marginal Agricultural Lands, and Farm Supply Response: Micro-Evidence for Southwest Wisconsin," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150510, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  5. Di Corato, Luca & Gazheli, Ardjan & Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan, 2013. "Investing in energy forestry under uncertainty," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 56-64.
  6. Latta, Gregory S. & Baker, Justin S. & Beach, Robert H. & Rose, Steven K. & McCarl, Bruce A., 2013. "A multi-sector intertemporal optimization approach to assess the GHG implications of U.S. forest and agricultural biomass electricity expansion," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 361-383.
  7. Lee, Sangjun & Zhao, Jinhua & Thornsbury, Suzanne, 2013. "Extreme Events and Land Use Decisions under Climate Change in Tart Cherry Industry in Michigan," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150568, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  8. Corato, Luca Di & Hess, Sebastian, 2013. "A Dynamic Stochastic Programming Framework for Modeling Large Scale Land Deals in Developing Countries," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150190, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  9. Di Corato, Luca & Hess, Sebastian, 2013. "Farmland Investments in Africa: What’s the Deal?," Working Paper Series 2013:10, Department Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  10. Sharp, Benjamin E. & Miller, Shelie A., 2014. "Estimating maximum land use change potential from a regional biofuel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 261-269.
  11. Michele Baggio, 2012. "The Optimal Management of a Natural Resource with Switching Dynamics," IED Working paper 12-19, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
  12. Fradj, Nosra Ben & Jayet, Pierre-Alain, 2011. "Impacts of Promoting Perennial Crops in the French Agriculture," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114246, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  13. Dumortier, Jerome, 2012. "Welfare changes associated with forest carbon offset credits in the United States," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124632, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  14. Mooney, Daniel F. & Barham, Bradford L., 2013. "What Drives the Adoption of Clean Agricultural Technologies? An Ex Ante Assessment of Sustainable Biofuel Production in Southwestern Wisconsin," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150557, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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