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Switching to Perennial Energy Crops under Uncertainty and Costly Reversibility

  • Song, Feng
  • Zhao, Jinhua
  • Swinton, Scott M.

We study a farmer’s decision to convert traditional crop land into growing dedicated energy crops, taking in account sunk conversion costs, uncertainties in traditional and energy crop returns, and learning. The optimal decision rules differ significantly from the expected net present value rule, which ignores learning, and from real option models that allow only one way conversions into energy crops. These models also predict drastically different patterns of land conversions into and out of energy crops over time. Using corn-soybean rotations 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 reduces proportions of land in switchgrass in the long run.

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Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 56195.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:56195
Contact details of provider: Postal: Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture, 446 West Circle Dr., Rm 202, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
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  1. Nostbakken, Linda, 2006. "Regime switching in a fishery with stochastic stock and price," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 231-241, March.
  2. Mason, Charles F., 2001. "Nonrenewable Resources with Switching Costs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 65-81, July.
  3. Hallam, Arne & Anderson, I. C. & Buxton, D. R., 2001. "Comparative Economic Analysis of Perennial, Annual and Intercrops for Biomass Production," Staff General Research Papers 5076, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  5. Jensen, Kimberly L. & Clark, Christopher D. & Ellis, Pamela & English, Burton C. & Menard, R. Jamey & Walsh, Marie E., 2006. "Farmer Willingness to Grow Switchgrass for Energy Production," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21355, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  6. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Vesterby, Marlow & Bucholtz, Shawn & Baez, Alba & Roberts, Michael J., 2006. "Major Uses of Land in The United States, 2002," Economic Information Bulletin 7203, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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  12. 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.
  13. Williams, Jeffery R. & Llewelyn, Richard V. & Pendell, Dustin L. & Schlegel, Alan J. & Troy, Dumler, 2009. "A Risk Analysis of Converting CRP Acres to a Wheat-Sorghum-Fallow Rotation," 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia 45985, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  14. Capozza, Dennis & Li, Yuming, 1994. "The Intensity and Timing of Investment: The Case of Land," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 889-904, September.
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