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APR: Winter 2022 Articles

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Fertilizer Markets: The Clash between Energy, Ag, Weather, Profits, and Policy

Oranuch Wongpiyabovorn, Chad Hart, John M. Crespi
Wongpayibovorn et al. examine the US fertilizer market, which, in 2021, was disrupted by extremely cold weather in Texas, Hurricane Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The natural disasters in the southern part of the country paused the majority of fertilizer production, as 56% of ammonia production capacity is located in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The extreme weather not only directly impacted fertilizer production, but it also disrupted natural gas production, the major feedstock for nitrogen fertilizers.

Utility-scale Wind and Solar Development in Iowa: Trends, Prospects, and the Land Factor

Jian Chen, Hongli Feng
Chen and Feng examine the development of utility-scale wind and solar energy in Iowa, which is pivotal since utility-scale wind and solar power plants accounted for 95.5% of Iowa’s wind and solar power plants under operation as of November 2021. The continued growth in wind and solar energy in Iowa will rely on more utility-scale wind and solar deployment.

What’s in Store for Voluntary Agricultural Carbon Markets?

Alejandro Plastina, Oranuch Wongpiyabovorn, John M. Crespi
Plastina et al. examine the formative voluntary market for agricultural carbon credits in the United States, which is characterized by a growing number of carbon initiatives testing multiple pilot programs pushing their own standards, and living off venture capital and angel investors. A report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes that agriculture has a larger potential than forestry in the United States to generate carbon credits, but only if carbon prices in the voluntary market reach $100 per credit.

Farm Succession and Retirement across Continents and Cultures: A Focus on Ireland and Iowa

Shane Francis Conway, Maura Farrell, John McDonagh, Anne Kinsella, John R. Baker
Conway et al. draw on a baseline analysis of International FARMTRANSFERS Survey data obtained from the Republic of Ireland and the state of Iowa to identify and compare rates and patterns of succession and older farmers’ similarities and/or differences in attitudes and intentions towards retirement. Overcoming the farming community’s stalwart persistent adherence to traditional succession and retirement practices, which effectively obstructs farmland transfer to the next generation, is a pressing matter for contemporary generational renewal in agriculture policy.

Will the Soaring Farmland Market Drop When the Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates?

Wendong Zhang, Albulena Basha
Zhang and Basha examine the Iowa and Midwest farmland markets, which have seen tremendous momentum over the past 18 months. Both the Iowa Land Value Survey and the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s AgLetter show that average farmland values in Iowa rose 30% last year to the highest nominal values since the 1940s. However, in late March, the Federal Reserve Bank is expected to impose the first interest rate hike in three years, which will likely be the start of six-to-seven interest rate hikes over the next two years.

Is the United States Trying to Undermine the WTO?

Edward J. Balistreri
Balistreri investigates the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settlement mission, which is now under significant threat. The United States has chosen to block the appointment of new members to the WTO's Appellate Body—without an operating Appellate Body the technical process for resolving disputes hits a dead end. Could this be a US strategy to avoid losses at the WTO?