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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Natural Resource Management Research » Research » Research Project #422956


Location: Natural Resource Management Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine and examine farmers’ willingness to: (1) produce oil seed crops for renewable jet and other biofuel options in the western United States; (2) contractual relationships between farmers and processors; and (3) market factors impacting viability of biofuel production.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Data Collection: The project will require the collection of both primary and secondary data. Primary data will be collected on-farm directly from farmers to obtain information about agronomic, economic, financial, and management data concerning agricultural production practices, marketing and contractual relationships, and social networks. Primary data will be collected using a Farmer Adoption Survey. Farmer Adoption Survey: A survey instrument will be developed and administered to farmers in the study region concerning (i) the adoption of bioenergy oilseed crops in existing wheat-based cropping systems; (ii) willingness to harvest or produce other cellulosic feedstocks, such as red cedar; (iii) the contractual arrangements under which these enterprises might occur with processors and/or bio-refineries; (iv) price discovery to determine at what prices farmers will adopt these enterprises; (v) existing management paradigms and practices for current cropping rotations; and (vi) use and need of extension information, technical assistance, and cost-share. The survey will collect additional information on farm characteristics, farm demographics, financial demographics and farmer attitudes toward bio-energy and conservation. The primary component of the survey will be a stated conjoint experiment to assess farmers’ willingness to produce alternative bioenergy oilseed crops under different contracting relationships with a processor or biorefinery. The experimental protocols of the experiments will follow conventional formats advocated in the economics literature to minimize bias to respondents’ choices. Primary data will be supplemented with secondary data from existing databases (e.g. USDA-NASS, Kansas Farm Management Association (, Kansas State University Extension, Farm Service Agency, USDA-NRCS) to collect pertinent input cost, price, crop management, agricultural and conservation policy, financial, climate, soils, yield, insurance and demographic data to use for analysis and modeling purposes.

3. Progress Report:
Crop management and county-level historical wheat and oilseed crop yield data were assembled for the predominant wheat producing regions of the Western U.S. A roundtable discussion was conducted with stakeholders from the region to identify current and historical oilseed production efforts, existing attitudes and knowledge about biofuel feedstock production, opportunities and pitfalls for expanding biofuel feedstock production, and stakeholder and customer needs to advance oilseed production. This provided background information and contacts needed in conducting farmer adoption analysis. A contact list was purchased for the Farmer Adoption Survey and initial survey design was developed.

4. Accomplishments