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Environmental Impacts of Cellulosic Feedstock Production: A Case Study of a Cornbelt Aquifer

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  • Moon, Jin-Young
  • Apland, Jeffrey
  • Folle, Solomon
  • Mulla, David

Abstract

The emergence of markets for cellulosic biofuel feedstocks may lead to substantive tradeoffs between economic and environmental goals in agricultural regions, and will raise environmental and energy policy concerns. This paper examines the potential tradeoffs between cellulosic feedstock production and water quality and analyzes policy options to address those tradeoffs for a northern corn-belt watershed. Policy alternatives considered include restrictions on total nitrate-N load in the watershed and production subsidies for switchgrass - an energy crop with potential environmental benefits. Restricting nitrate-N loads increases the cost of cellulosic feedstock supply and in some circumstances makes switchgrass production an economical alternative. Switchgrass production subsidies, if sufficiently high can increase feedstock supply while reducing or eliminating the negative effects of feedstock production on water quality.

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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 164139.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:164139

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Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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  1. Smith, David J. & Schulman, Candi & Current, Dean & Easter, K. William, 2011. "Willingness of Agricultural Landowners to Supply Perennial Energy Crops," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103930, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Xiaoguang Chen & Hayri ´┐Żnal, 2012. "Modeling Agricultural Supply Response Using Mathematical Programming and Crop Mixes," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(3), pages 674-686.
  3. Ribaudo, Marc O. & Heimlich, Ralph & Claassen, Roger & Peters, Mark, 2001. "Least-cost management of nonpoint source pollution: source reduction versus interception strategies for controlling nitrogen loss in the Mississippi Basin," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-197, May.
  4. Secchi, Silvia & Gassman, Philip W. & Jha, Manoj K. & Kurkalova, Lyubov A. & Kling, Catherine L., 2008. "The Water Quality Effects of Corn Ethanol vs Switchgrass Based Biofuels in the Midwest," Environmental and Rural Development Impacts Conference, October 15-16, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri 53498, Farm Foundation, Transition to a Bio Economy Conferences.
  5. Ribaudo, Marc & Delgado, Jorge & Hansen, LeRoy T. & Livingston, Michael J. & Mosheim, Roberto & Williamson, James M., 2011. "Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy," Economic Research Report 118022, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Spreen, Thomas H., 2006. "Price Endogenous Mathematical Programming Models and Trade Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(02), August.
  7. Egbendewe-Mondzozo, Aklesso & Swinton, Scott M. & Izaurralde, R. Cesar & Manowitz, David H. & Zhang, Xuesong, 2010. "Biomass Supply from Alternative Cellulosic Crops and Crop Residues: A Preliminary Spatial Bioeconomic Modeling Approach," Staff Papers 98277, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  8. Rabotyagov, Sergey S. & Campbell, Todd & Jha, Manoj & Gassman, Philip W. & Arnold, Jeffrey G. & Kurkalova, Lyubov A. & Secchi, Silvia & Feng, Hongli & Kling, Catherine L., 2010. "Least Cost Control of Agricultural Nutrient Contributions to the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone," Staff General Research Papers 31319, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Malcolm, Scott A., 2008. "Weaning Off Corn: Crop Residues and the Transition to Cellulosic Ethanol," Environmental and Rural Development Impacts Conference, October 15-16, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri 53500, Farm Foundation, Transition to a Bio Economy Conferences.
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