Essays on Land Conversion, Crop Acreage Response, and Adoption of Conservation Practices: Evidence from the Dakota's
Parvez, Md. Rezwanul
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This research is composed of three essays. It highlights the driving factors of land conversion and crop acreage response focusing on North Dakota agriculture and estimates the benefits of conservation land measures at west central South Dakota watershed. The major questions that are addressed here are how and why agricultural producers decide among different land use choices, crop selection, and land conservation measures and how their decision vary over time? The first essay examines the long run land conversion trend interconnected with change in crop, oil, and ethanol prices, climate and renewable fuel policy mandates. Data are obtained from Cropland Data Layer from 1997 to 2015 period of National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at the USDA. The first essay employs a Seemingly Unrelated Tobit Regression approach to better understand the connection between land conversion and crop prices, biofuel policies, biophysical environment. Key findings indicate land-use conversion from grassland to cropland is relatively higher across the ND counties. The second essay is designed to investigate the relationship between crop acreage response and socio-economic and environmental drivers. We use prices for crude oil, planted acres of major crops (corn, wheat, soybean, hay) and prices from the period of 1990 to 2015. This essay focuses on corn acreage response due to crop prices, energy policies, climate and other socio-economic factors using a Fixed Effect parameter framework. The final essay estimates environmental benefits due to adoption of conservation practices. In other words, it analyzes the economic and environmental benefits of implemented conservation practices at Bad River watershed in South Dakota using an integrated framework. For example, in an article in the Global Journal of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development (2016), a Benefit Cost Analysis model is utilized to assess soil conservation benefits and evaluate economic impacts of conservation measures at a watershed scale. The economic analysis includes estimation of benefit cost ratio, annual rate of return of conservation practices. Key findings suggest that benefit value of sediment reduction average $2.13 per ton expressed in constant (year = 2000) dollars and the ratio of benefits to costs is greater than 1.