Incorporating "Bads" and "Goods" in the Measurement of Agricultural Productivity Growth in the U.S
Productive utilization of resources has enabled American agriculture to supply the nation with vast quantities of food at a high level of efficiency. However, the USDA shows that 2011 pesticide expenses increased by about $100 million resulting from a slight increase of planted acres and a one-percent rise in prices paid. Some believe that increased food and fiber production has come at a cost to environmental quality. Modern pest management utilizes a wider range of appropriate pest management options despite the diversity of chemical use in agriculture. In fact, modern agriculture may suffer significant economic losses in yield and quality without intensive use of pesticides and other chemicals. This paper presents findings on the efficiency score measures with undesirable or bad outputs and the offending bad input (i.e., pesticides and fertilizers) for twelve key corn producing states, twelve key cotton producing states, and fifteen key soybean producing states using a unique panel of state-level data set for 1960-1997. Our preliminary findings indicate that the efficiency scores for corn, cotton, and soybean producing states are consistent with the pesticide risk indicators for protection of drinking water patterns discussed in Kellogg et al, 2002. In general, there is more room for reducing the bad output along with the polluting input (e.g., pesticide and fertilizer) than for expanding the good outputs (e.g., crops, livestock, and farm related output) in the major corn and soybean producing states. Only half of the 12 cotton producing states were found to be efficient over the entire period. Our findings using the updated, revised and extended through 1997 USDA data on “goods” and “bads” differ from the previous results reported in Harper et al. “New Developments in Productivity Analysis” (2001) due to the different approach (i.e., measured efficiency scores) used in this study.
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