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Land 2015, 4(4), 1110-1137; doi:10.3390/land4041110

Investigating Impacts of Alternative Crop Market Scenarios on Land Use Change with an Agent-Based Model

1
Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa, 316 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
2
Esri, 380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92373, USA
3
Department of Geography and Environmental Resources, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: James Millington and John Wainwright
Received: 1 January 2015 / Revised: 9 November 2015 / Accepted: 16 November 2015 / Published: 24 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8289 KB, uploaded 24 November 2015]   |  

Abstract

We developed an agent-based model (ABM) to simulate farmers’ decisions on crop type and fertilizer application in response to commodity and biofuel crop prices. Farm profit maximization constrained by farmers’ profit expectations for land committed to biofuel crop production was used as the decision rule. Empirical parameters characterizing farmers’ profit expectations were derived from an agricultural landowners and operators survey and integrated in the ABM. The integration of crop production cost models and the survey information in the ABM is critical to producing simulations that can provide realistic insights into agricultural land use planning and policy making. Model simulations were run with historical market prices and alternative market scenarios for corn price, soybean to corn price ratio, switchgrass price, and switchgrass to corn stover ratio. The results of the comparison between simulated cropland percentage and crop rotations with satellite-based land cover data suggest that farmers may be underestimating the effects that continuous corn production has on yields. The simulation results for alternative market scenarios based on a survey of agricultural land owners and operators in the Clear Creek Watershed in eastern Iowa show that farmers see cellulosic biofuel feedstock production in the form of perennial grasses or corn stover as a more risky enterprise than their current crop production systems, likely because of market and production risks and lock in effects. As a result farmers do not follow a simple farm-profit maximization rule. View Full-Text
Keywords: agent-based model; land use change; agricultural land owners and operators survey; commodity and biofuel crop market scenarios agent-based model; land use change; agricultural land owners and operators survey; commodity and biofuel crop market scenarios
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ding, D.; Bennett, D.; Secchi, S. Investigating Impacts of Alternative Crop Market Scenarios on Land Use Change with an Agent-Based Model. Land 2015, 4, 1110-1137.

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