Economic and environmental impacts of the corn grain ethanol industry on the United States agricultural sector

J. A. Larson, B. C. English, D. G. De La Torre Ugarte, R. J. Menard, C. M. Hellwinckel, T. O. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated the impacts of increased ethanol production from corn starch on agricultural land use and the environment in the United States. The Policy Analysis System simulation model was used to simulate alternative ethanol production scenarios for 2007 through 2016. Results indicate that increased corn ethanol production had a positive effect on net farm income and economic wellbeing of the US agricultural sector. In addition, government payments to farmers were reduced because of higher commodity prices and enhanced net farm income. Results also indicate that if Conservation Reserve Program land was converted to crop production in response to higher demand for ethanol in the simulation, individual farmers planted more land in crops, including corn. With a larger total US land area in crops due to individual farmer cropping choices, total US crop output rose, which decreased crop prices and aggregate net farm income relative to the scenario where increased ethanol production happened without Conservation Reserve Program land. Substantial shifts in land use occurred with corn area expanding throughout the United States, especially in the traditional corn-growing area of the midcontinent region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-279
JournalJournal of Soils and Water Conservation
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

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