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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS FOR THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Economic outcomes of greenhouse gas mitigation options

Authors
item Archer, David
item Kurkalova, Lyubov -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2011
Publication Date: June 8, 2012
Citation: Archer, D.W., Kurkalova, L.A. 2012. Economic outcomes of greenhouse gas mitigation options. Book Chapter. p. 411-421. IN: M.A. Liebig, A.J. Franzluebbers, and R.F. Follet (eds.) Managing Agricultural Greenhouse Gases: Coordinated Agricultural Research through GRACEnet to Address our Changing Climate. Academic Press, San Diego.

Interpretive Summary: Changes in farming practices can help reduce greenhouse gases. However, farmers will generally not change practices if the practices are not profitable. The economic impacts of changing farm management practices to reduce greenhouse gases are reviewed. The review indicates tillage, rotation, and fertilizer management are all interact in determining the economic performance and greenhouse gas reduction potential in farm management. The review also indicates that the rapid growth in bioenergy production has had a dramatic effect on agricultural markets and the profitability of farm management alternatives. This review provides a broad overview of the profitability of farm management practices, potential impacts on greenhouse gases, and changes occurring with the growing biofuels market. Better understanding of the impacts of the growing biofuels market is needed to determine the economic impacts of practices aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Technical Abstract: Economic outcomes of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation options are reviewed including reductions in tillage intensity, diversifying crop rotation, and N fertilizer management. The review indicates that, while reducing tillage can be a cost effective GHG mitigation practice, results vary by region and within regions and can be sensitive to small changes in profitability or effects on C sequestration. There are often complex interactions among tillage, rotation, and fertilizer management that affect the economic performance of these practices and their GHG mitigation effects. Economic performance of these practices is also sensitive to changing market conditions. The rapid growth in bioenergy production has had a dramatic effect on agricultural markets and the relative profitability of agricultural management alternatives. The developing market for biomass could have even greater effects through bringing non-cropped land into crop production (extensive margin) and effects on crop production practices on existing cropland (intensive margin). While extensive margin effects have received much attention, the less studied effects on agricultural management practices at the intensive margin could have substantial GHG mitigation effects. Overall, better understanding of the impacts of the growing biofuels market is needed for assessing economic outcomes of GHG mitigation options in a bioenergy world.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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