Farm level response to agricultural effluent control strategies : the case of the Willamette Valley Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8g84mp13x

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  • Changes in the structure of the U.S. agricultural industry since World War II have transformed it into a highly productive component of the domestic economy. But these changes have not occurred without indirect costs. For example, the reliance on agricultural chemicals has produced environmental effects causing growing concern. In addition, renewed awareness of and demand for environmental amenities by the general public are changing attitudes towards the agricultural industry and its implicit property rights. This public concern is prompting a growing use of regulatory controls for pollution problems, at a time of greater demands on water resources and declining farm sector population. In this dissertation an examination was made of economic incentives and other mechanisms available to farmers to offset pollution, with particular application to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. A two-part simulation was used, involving a biophysical model designed to simulate crop growth and nutrient flow, and separate economic optimization linear programming models of five representative farms. The output of each of the farm models is an optimal crop rotation mix and an associated set of nutrient outflows. Environmental restrictions and regulations were imposed when conducting policy tests, and changes in profit, crop mix, and physical outputs were recorded to provide a measure of policy effectiveness and cost. Policies tested included effluent charges, an input tax, per-acre standards, a required use of no-tillage, and a fall fertilizer ban. The results indicate that the availability of production options on each farm influences policy effectiveness and the cost of achieving pollution abatement. Nevertheless, some abatement is possible on all farms for relatively little cost. Of the policy measures, effluent charges provide abatement at least cost, although specific levels of abatement may not be attainable. When a farm is subject to multiple pollution problems, control of one type of pollutant may exacerbate other problems. Finally, farmers in the Willamette Valley can reduce both nitrogen use and effluent with a greater use of crop rotations.
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