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Articles from Winter 2014

Ethanol Mandates Compliance Strategy and Course of Action for EPA

Sebastien Pouliot (pouliot@iastate.edu)
Renewable Fuel Standards were first introduced by the government in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which, along with the revised biofuel mandates in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, created a production boom in the ethanol industry. However, as the industry has begun to hit the proverbial “blend wall,” EPA has announced the possibility of reducing, or at least stalling, future mandated usage volumes. Can the industry overcome the blend wall, or is EPA taking its only logical course of action?

Iowa Farmland Value Survey Shows Historic High Statewide Average

For more than seventy years, the Iowa State Farmland Value Survey has tracked the ups and downs of farmland value across the state. While the survey shows that the statewide value increased for the ninth time in the past ten years, the increase was far from uniform across the state, with some areas losing value since the last survey.

Retail Meat and Crop Demand Continue to Grow

Chad Hart (chart@iastate.edu) and Lee Schulz (lschulz@iastate.edu)
The US corn and soybean crops in 2013 were at or near record levels and worldwide demand increased over last year’s amounts. Despite trends showing consumer demand is returning from the 2008 recession, packer demand for hogs and beef hasn’t been faring as well as demand for US crops.

Is there an Optimal Month to Forward Contract?

Dermot J. Hayes (dhayes@iastate.edu)
Futures and forward contracts for harvest delivery should be efficient predictors of the price at harvest, with no obvious trend in profitability of hedging across various months. However, data collected from 1993 to 2013 reveals that there may actually be an economically optimal time for grain producers to forward contract.

The Protectionism of Food Safety Standards in International Agricultural Trade

John Beghin (beghin@iastate.edu)
Each country sets their own standards for acceptable pesticide maximum residue limits, with some countries imposing harsher standards than others do. Taxes and governmental red tape only further compound the issues, often leading to protectionism in agricultural trade. Using data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service a protectionism index has been developed for more than 80 countries.

Ask an Ag Economist

Farmland prices are setting records. Do economists know how much of this strong price appreciation is due to government policy such as ethanol mandates, subsidized crop insurance, direct payments, etc.?