The Effect of Technological Progress, Demand, and Energy Policy on Agricultural and Bioenergy Markets
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Agricultural technological progress is a key factor in our ability to meet future demand growth for consumers and biofuel usage. This study investigates the consequences of agricultural technological progress, biofuel policy, and agricultural demand growth on crop, livestock, and bioenergy markets, as well as resource usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study was done in three phases. In the first phase, estimates were constructed of the technological progress rates over time and their possible recent decline. The crop yield growth rate was estimated for six major field crops over U.S. crop yield data from 1950 to 2014. In the second phase, we formed scenarios for future technological progress, demand growth, and biofuel policy, where the technological progress scenarios were based on the estimates from the time series analysis. In the third phase, a dynamic simulation was carried out to investigate how the technological progress influenced markets, resource usage, and emissions. The major findings are as follows: 1) A slowdown in technical progress was found in recent years, particularly for corn, cotton, and winter wheat; 2) Non-uniform technical progress was found across regions, especially for cotton and soybeans; 3) Technical progress across regions in most cases was found to be positively correlated; 4) Technological progress and biofuel policy were found to have significant impacts on U.S. cropland use where an increase in technological progress reduces cropland for biofuel and cropland pasture for livestock but increases cropland for crop production; 5) Reducing corn ethanol requirements causes more cropland to move from cropping to pasture uses for livestock. However lowering ethanol from corn residue has minor effects on cropland use; 6) Lowering the requirement of ethanol from corn, lowers the price for most of the field crops and meat commodities, especially corn, hay, sorghum, and non-fed beef; 7) Technological progress and biofuel policy have significant effects of on GHG emissions. Increasing technical progress reduces overall GHG emissions. Lower corn ethanol level results in much larger GHG emissions as compared with the control case. This implies producing corn ethanol is effective in reducing emissions; and 8) technological improvement is a key factor in meeting growing global demand for food and energy and reducing emissions.
Kapilakanchana, Montalee (2016). The Effect of Technological Progress, Demand, and Energy Policy on Agricultural and Bioenergy Markets. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from