Anthropocentric action is the dominant force behind accelerating environmental deterioration and climate change well above historical levels. Personal consumption habits are a significant contributor to rapid environmental devastation. The average diet of developed nations emphasizes animal protein consumption, particularly meat products from cattle, pigs, and chicken, as well as milk and eggs. The industrialized and highly concentrated primary crop and livestock production processes in the United States emit a large percentage of greenhouse gases, contribute to over-exploitation of increasingly scarce water resources, and erode soil. Environmental externalities, such as these, are not currently accounted in consumer prices for animal products. The effects of this market failure are multiplying as developing nations industrialize and begin to adopt the consumption habits of the developed nations. This thesis examines the impact of livestock production in the United States, beginning with crop production and processing for feed, and ending with slaughter and processing. The greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and soil erosion costs are identified, incorporated into current market prices in the form of a demand-side Pigouvian tax, and compared to current market prices. By assessing three significant environmental externalities and determining a conservative estimate of the respective costs of these externalities, this research demonstrates both the failure of the neoclassical market structure to account for the true price of livestock production, and the impact that personal dietary choices make on the global environment.
Unconventional oil drilling in North Dakota has accelerated over the past decade and is unlikely to abate soon. Agriculture is large component of North Dakota’s economy. This study compares total acres planted with oil prices and number of wells drilled within crop districts of North Dakota. Using panel data on the total number of wells and acres planted in North Dakota. This study finds that acres planted had a statistically significant negative correlation with number of wells and oil prices.
The 2009-2010 research focus was entitled, "Food and Agriculture in the Rockies Current Challenges and New Trends." The research project took place July 6-12, 2009, July 22, 2009, and July 29, 2009. The 2009-10 student project researchers spent the summer of 2009 investigating agriculture in the Rockies Region. Their analysis of multiple data sets, mapping projects, academic papers, interviews, and field experience provide a unique and comprehensive look at the challenges and successes of agriculture in the Rockies.
The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1994 signaled the economic integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The economic theory behind international trade suggests the free flow of goods allows each nation to focus on comparative advantages, therefore permitting all parties involved to consume more goods of a better quality and at a lower price. The purpose of this study was to determine how agricultural trade patterns for Canada, the United States, and Mexico changed in terms of composition, value, and volume since the implementation of NAFTA. As several studies included suggest, Canada and the United States exhibit a comparative advantage in the production of eggs, maize, milk, beef, and wheat, and Mexico tends to exhibit a comparative advantage in the production of horticultural products such as asparagus, beans, chilies, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, onions, pumpkins, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelons. With this information in mind, this study sought to analyze whether or not NAFTA prompted each nation to specialize in the production of products for which they have a comparative advantage, thus the focus on the changing composition of agricultural trade. Additionally, this study attempted to determine if and when structural breaks in the trade patterns for the selected products happened (both in terms of value and volume). If the structural break happened before the implementation of NAFTA, then it may be suggested that the rising trade levels are simply the continuation of an already existing upward trend that may have started during the 1980’s. If the structural break happened around the time NAFTA was implemented, then there may be some evidence that NAFTA in particular propelled this increase in agricultural trade levels. This study relied on data provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT). Specifically, this analysis used international trade data, in terms of value and volume, for Canada, the United States, and Mexico for sixteen agricultural products from 1961 to 2011. The methodology consisted of various multiple regression models designed to detect a structural break in value and volume trends over time. The results suggest that most products exhibited a positive value and volume structural break in 1994, when NAFTA was put in place. Various products showed evidence of a different break date, but this break date tended to be in the mid 1980’s. This is not surprising given that Mexico’s economic liberalization began during this decade with its accession into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986 and considering the 1988 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and the United States.
The emerging market for North American Bison has recently shown steady growth in both demand and production that has led to strong pricing for bison meat products. Despite the wide interest in forecasting bison prices and the potential for industry-wide benefits of accurate forecasts, limited work dealing with bison price forecasting has been published. An econometric model used by I. J. Bourke (1979) for beef price forecasting was adapted for the bison industry expressing monthly bison carcass prices as a function of national unemployment rates, personal disposable income, and the prices of beef, pork, lamb, turkey, and broiler meats. Separate models were built for bull and heifer carcasses to test for price discrepancies based on gender. Finally, months were included in the original model to account for the cyclical nature of agricultural industries. This paper aims to establish a basis of price relationships between bison carcasses, common substitutes, and macroeconomic indicators for potential use in an accurate price-forecasting model.
Diffusion of new knowledge and technologies in agriculture can offset the sometimes explosive nature of food price increases, especially in developing countries. Closely following the notion of innovative geographic clusters, this thesis examines knowledge flows in the US agriculture industry for evidence of innovative agglomeration. Each agricultural patent granted from 1972 - 2002 was spatially tagged using Geographic Information Systems software. The data indicate that a closer distance between any two patent origins increases the probability that one cites the other as prior art, with subtle interregional variations on the degree to which proximity advances agricultural innovation. Policies that exploit the relative ease of knowledge within localized networks can encourage development of cost-cutting technologies which can in turn lower world food prices.
The use of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in remote sensing applications is being explored by a number of disciplines. One industry in particular – agriculture - has seen notable interest and exploration in the use of these types of systems to monitor crops. UAVs have potential to affect farming by reducing the amount of chemicals used, detect areas of less growth, pinpoint irrigation issues, and help in farm management decisions by providing yield estimates with high accuracy. After a review of the theory and science behind the data collection and processing, we estimate the dollar value of the data by looking to agronomic studies of remote sensing with satellites. The results suggest that UAVs will have a positive economic benefit in agriculture.
Each section of the 2010 Report Card is dedicated to agriculture in the Rockies. It provides the statistical overview of the region's industry, but also delves deep into agricultural history, land and water use, demographics, production, finance, organization, and a "foodprint" of Rockies' agriculture.
Presents list of lectures for the 2009-2010 Colorado College State of the Rockies speaker series: Reclaiming American agriculture / Dr. Bill Weida -- The new politics of agriculture / Dan Morgan and Elaine Shannon -- Where's the beef? Tradeoffs between grassfed and industrial Livestock / Dr. Rosamond Naylor -- In wildness is the preservation of sustainability / Richard Manning -- The mythological power of the 'family farm' / Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow
This paper presents results from an economic-groundwater model developed for the Oxnard, Las Posas, and Pleasant Valley groundwater subbasins. Located in Ventura County, California, these subbasins are experiencing issues relating to groundwater overdraft. Due to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), each subbasin must create strategies to address groundwater overdraft. This model informs potential strategies by simulating three scenarios: (1) a baseline scenario using current water allocations, (2) a scenario where groundwater allocations are restricted 20% and farmers have the ability to import surface water to replace their groundwater, and (3) a scenario where groundwater is restricted 20% and farmers cannot import water. This study finds that scenario 2 generates the least financial losses, although the difference between the scenarios 2 and 3 is unsubstantial. The total financial losses for agricultural producers under scenario two are: $9,450,269 (a 31% decrease) in Oxnard, $637,499 (a 29% decrease) in Pleasant Valley, and $19,932,643 (a 45% decrease) in Las Posas.
William Weida addresses the economic, political and health impacts of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), how and why we have deviated from conventional farming, and how we can reclaim American agriculture. Part of the 2009-2010 State of the Rockies Speaker series: "Food and Agriculture in the Rockies." Recorded September 7, 2009.