• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Economics of alternative and conventional...
 Environmental characteristics of...
 Thoughts on implications for USDA...
 Reference
 Annotated bibliography
 Resources fo the future discussion...






Group Title: Discussion paper - Resources for the Future - ENR88-01
Title: Alternative agriculture
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 Material Information
Title: Alternative agriculture a review and assessment of the literature
Series Title: Discussion paper
Physical Description: 64, 7 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Crosson, Pierre R.
Ekey, Janet
Resources for the Future -- Energy and Natural Resources Division
Publisher: Energy and Natural Resources Division, Resources for the Future
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: c1988
 Subjects
Subject: Alternative agriculture   ( lcsh )
Alternative agriculture -- Abstracts   ( lcsh )
Genre: abstract or summary   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 47-64).
Statement of Responsibility: by Pierre Crosson and Janet Ekey.
General Note: "November 1988."
Funding: Discussion paper (Resources for the Future) ;
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Bibliographic ID: UF00053866
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 21465667

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Economics of alternative and conventional agriculture
        Page 5
        Micro comparisons
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Conclusion
                Page 18
        Macro comparisons
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Conclusion
                Page 27
        Sustainability comparisons
            Page 28
            Erosion and soild productivity
                Page 29
                Page 30
            Conventional systems and soil biota
                Page 29
            Reliance of fossil fuels
                Page 31
            Conclusion
                Page 32
    Environmental characteristics of alternative and conventional agriculture
        Page 32
        Ground and surface water quality
            Page 33
            Pesticides
                Page 33
                Page 34
                Page 35
                Page 36
            Nutrients
                Page 37
                Page 38
            Sediment
                Page 39
        Human health not related to water quality
            Page 40
            Residues on food
                Page 40
            Health threats from handling pesticides
                Page 41
        Animal habitat
            Page 41
            Page 42
        Conclusion
            Page 43
    Thoughts on implications for USDA policies
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Reference
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Annotated bibliography
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Resources fo the future discussion papers
        Page Resources 1
        Page Resources 2
        Page Resources 3
        Page Resources 4
        Page Resources 5
        Page Resources 6
Full Text
7; 033


Energy and
Natural Resources
Division


Resources for the Future/Washington, D.C.













Discussion Paper ENR88-01


Alternative Agriculture: A Review
and Assessment of the Literature


by


Pierre Crosson and Janet Ekey


Resources for the Future
1616 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036





November 1988




01988 Resources for the Future. All rights reserved. No portion of this
paper may be reproduced without permission of the authors.



Discussion papers are material circulated for information and discussion.
They have not undergone formal peer review as have RFF books and studies.
Comments are welcome.


The research on which
Conservation Service.
authors. The SCS has


this study is based was funded by the U.S. Soil
However, the views expressed are soley those of the
no responsibility for them.









Table of Contents

Introduction...................................... ...... .............1

Economics of Alternative and Conventional Agriculture.................5

Micro Comparisons............................................5

Conclusion.............................................18

Macro Comparisons..................................... ........ 19

Conclusion............................. .............. 27

Sustainability Comparisons....................................28

Erosion and soil productivity...........................29

Conventional systems and soil biota......................29

Reliance of fossil fuels................................ 31

Conclusion................................ ........ ...... 32

Environmental Characteristics of Alternative and Conventional

Agriculture....................................................... 32

Ground and Surface Water Quality..............................33

Pesticides ..... .................................33

Nutrients...................... ..... ................... 37

Sediment ............................................. 39

Human Health Not Related to Water Quality.....................40

Residues,on food........................................40

Health threats from handling pesticides..................41

Animal Habitat................................. ............41

Conclusion. ..................... ...... .......................43

Thoughts on Implications for USDA Policies...........................44

References................... ................................................... 47

Annotated Bibliography....................... .......................50








INTRODUCTION



"Alternative agriculture", "regenerative agriculture" and "organic

farming" refer to similar but not identical sets of agricultural practices.

The similarities are strong enough that for this discussion alternative

agriculture can be taken to include the practices generally included under

all three labels.

The most restrictive definition of alternative agriculture is that

adopted by the Rodale organization (Harwood, 1984, p. 3):

"An organic system is one which is structured to minimize the
need for off-farm soil or plant-focused inputs. Because of
lack of information on the disruptive effect of synthetic
inputs, none are used. 'Natural' sources of inputs are used
with discretion."

By this definition alternative agriculture aims at self-sufficiency of

the farm by minimizing the use of inputs obtained from off the farm and at

elimination of "synthetic inputs", that is to say, chemical pesticides and

inorganic fertilizers in crop production and growth regulators and other

chemicals in animal production. Weeds, insects and diseases are managed

through crop rotations, cultivation, and a variety of biological controls.

Nutrients are provided by rotation of main crops with legumes and by return

to the soil of crop residues, animal wastes, sewage sludge, and other forms

of organic waste.

Other definitions are less strict in not setting complete self-

sufficiency of the farm with respect to inputs as a goal and permitting some

limited use of inorganic fertilizers where organic sources of nutrients are

especially limited and of pesticides to deal with emergency outbreaks of

weed, disease or insect damage. The U. S. Department of Agriculture's

Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming (1980) gives a.useful statement

of the less restrictive definition:








Organic farming "... is a production system which avoids or
largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded
fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed
additives. To the maximum extent feasible organic farming
systems rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal
manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes,
mechanical cultivation, mineral bearing rocks and aspects of
biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and
tilth, to supply plant nutrients, and to control insects,
weeds and other pests."

The literature reviewed for this report includes accounts of practices

fitting both the strict and less strict definitions of alternative

agriculture.

Advocates of alternative agriculture, e.g. the Rodale organization and

the people supporting the Journal of Alternative Agriculture, argue that the

system has significant environmental and other advantages over conventional

agriculture, i.e. the system now followed by most crop nd animal producers

in the United States. Why should the American society concern itself with

this line of argument? The reason is that most of the benefits claimed for

alternative agriculture, e.g. reduced damages to soil and water quality, will

not be adequately reflected in the economic calculations of farmers.

Consequently, if these benefits are real, the market system which

fundamentally drives American agriculture will undervalue alternative

agriculture relative to conventional agriculture, and American society will

be poorer as a result. The argument for alternative agriculture thus raises

a public policy issue, specifically for the U. S. Department of Agriculture

(USDA). If in fact alternative agriculture has the advantages its advocates

claim for it, the USDA should encourage more widespread adoption of the

system, the amount 'of the encouragement depending on the strength of the

advantages relative to those of the existing system.

In this report we draw on the literature described'in the references and

in the annotated bibliography to assess the economic and environmental

characteristics of alternative agriculture relative to conventional








agriculture. The environmental characteristics we consider are air and water

quality, the health of farmers and consumers as it is affected by pesticides,

and animal habitat.

Many advocates of alternative agriculture claim advantages for the

system which go well beyond the characteristics we consider. "Alternatively"

grown food is said by many to be more nutritious, and therefore more
I
healthful than conventionally grown food. After a review of a number of

studies, Oelhaf (1978) stated that although the evidence is not conclusive,

"nutrient levels appear to be higher for organically raised vegetables, and

perhaps in better balance" (p. 47). However, the Council for Agricultural

Science and Technology (CAST, 1980) cited 6 studies in support of its

conclusion that the claim for higher nutritive quality of organically grown

food "... has yet to be sustained experimentally. The available evidence,

obtained from chemical analyses and animal feeding trials, indicates that the.

nutritive value of organically grown and conventionally grown food is about

the same" (p. 8).

Because the evidence bearing on the relative nutritive quality of

alternatively grown food is inconclusive, we do not consider this issue

further.

Alternative agriculture also is viewed by some as promoting social goals

quite apart from the production of food. For example, Kaufman (1985),

writing of Robert Rodale's concept of regenerative agriculture, states that

widespread adoption of such a system would lead to "... the regeneration of

'metropolitan farms', creating not just a culture of food, but a new culture

of rural living... Regenerative agriculture thus aims to integrate agronomic

techniques with policies for rural revitalization..." (p. 220). In a wide-

ranging discussion of alternative agriculture, Lockeretz (1986) refers to

this aspect of alternative agriculture as a modern version of agricultural









fundamentalism. He also notes that many advocates of alternative agriculture

value it because it would promote greater regional self-sufficiency in food

production, thus providing protection against possible disruptions in supply.

Altieri (1985) hints at an even broader agenda: use of alternative

agriculture as a vehicle for changing the existing "capital-intensive

structure of agriculture" (p. 182).
I
We do not consider the relationship of alternative agriculture to these

broader social goals of rural revitalization, regional self-sufficiency in

food production, and restructuring of agriculture. These are complex issues.
A
To treat them satisfactorily would require a much larger effort than could be

devoted to this report. By neglecting them we do not mean to imply that they

are less important than the issues we discuss. And if subsequent analysis

should show the claims for alternative agriculture along these lines to have

merit, then the USDA would be obligated to take them seriously. But we

cannot undertake that analysis here.

The rest of the report is in three parts. The first considers the

comparative economics of alternative and conventional agriculture, the second

considers their respective environmental characteristics, and the third

discusses some of the implications for USDA policies with respect to

alternative agriculture.








ECONOMICS OF ALTERNATIVE AND CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE





Most of the discussion of the comparative economics of alternative

agriculture deals with the short-term profitability of the system as it

presently is practiced relative to that of conventional agriculture. We

first consider that part of the literature under the heading micro

comparisons. Relatively little attention has been given to the comparative

economics of the system if it were to displace the conventional system

nationwide. For USDA policies, however, this is a major issue. We discuss

it under the heading macro comparisons. One of the main arguments made for

alternative agriculture is that, unlike the conventional system, it is

indefinitely sustainable because it is more protective of soil productivity

and does not depend on exhaustible sources of energy. We consider this issue

under the heading sustainability comparisons.


Micro Comparisons

In a series of papers, Lockeretz et al reported results of comparative

studies of alternative and conventional farms in the Cornbelt (Lockeretz, et

al 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984). The 1984 paper summarizes the principal

results of the studies. In one of the studies 14 organic farms in Illinois,

Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Missouri were paired with nearby conventional

farms of about the same size (minimum of 100 acres) and soil types. The

organic farms were commercial producers of corn, both grain and silage, oats,

wheat, hay and other field crops. No inorganic fertilizers or pesticides

were used. Most of these farms also had some kind of livestock operation.

With a few exceptions the farms had been managed organically for at least

four years before the study. The 14 conventional farms produced the same








ECONOMICS OF ALTERNATIVE AND CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE





Most of the discussion of the comparative economics of alternative

agriculture deals with the short-term profitability of the system as it

presently is practiced relative to that of conventional agriculture. We

first consider that part of the literature under the heading micro

comparisons. Relatively little attention has been given to the comparative

economics of the system if it were to displace the conventional system

nationwide. For USDA policies, however, this is a major issue. We discuss

it under the heading macro comparisons. One of the main arguments made for

alternative agriculture is that, unlike the conventional system, it is

indefinitely sustainable because it is more protective of soil productivity

and does not depend on exhaustible sources of energy. We consider this issue

under the heading sustainability comparisons.


Micro Comparisons

In a series of papers, Lockeretz et al reported results of comparative

studies of alternative and conventional farms in the Cornbelt (Lockeretz, et

al 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984). The 1984 paper summarizes the principal

results of the studies. In one of the studies 14 organic farms in Illinois,

Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Missouri were paired with nearby conventional

farms of about the same size (minimum of 100 acres) and soil types. The

organic farms were commercial producers of corn, both grain and silage, oats,

wheat, hay and other field crops. No inorganic fertilizers or pesticides

were used. Most of these farms also had some kind of livestock operation.

With a few exceptions the farms had been managed organically for at least

four years before the study. The 14 conventional farms produced the same








major crops as the organic farms and most of them combined crops with

livestock.

Data were collected by questionnaire from each of the paired farms for

the years 1974-1976.

Another study was done of 23 Cornbelt organic farms in 1977 and 19 of

the same farms in 1978. The farms produced the same crops as the 14 paired

farms and the same sorts of data were collected from them. However, in the

second study the data for the organic farms were compared not with paired

conventional farms but with averages for the counties in which the organic

farms were located.

The combined results of the two studies showed that averaged over the

years 1974-1978 the organic farms had lower yields than the conventional

farms, but they also had lower costs, reduced outlays for fertilizer and

pesticides more than offsetting increased labor costs. The yield and cost

data were averaged over all cropland, including that in rotation hay and

pasture, soil improving crops and crop failure.

Because lower yields on the organic farms were offset by lower costs,

net income per acre averaged over the five years was about the same for

organic and conventional farms. However, in an analysis of these results,

Madden (1987) notes that in 1974-1977 severe drought affected some parts of

the study area. In 1978, when rainfall approximated the long-term average,

per acre net income on the 19 organic farms averaged 13 percent less than the

comparable county averages. Madden does not comment on the reasons for this.

A possibility, however, is that organically farmed soils may have greater

water holding capacity than conventionally farmed soils, giving organic farms

relatively more favorable yields in dry years. Recall, however, that even in

the drought years of 1974-1977 average yields of organic farms were less

than those of conventional farms.








Lockeretz et al (1984) do not discuss the reasons for the lower yields

on organic farms. They state, however, that the organic farmers in their

sample reported that weeds were one of the major problems they had to deal

with. This could account for some of the differential. Some also could be

accounted for by the fact that the organic farms had a greater proportion of

their land in rotation hay and pasture, and in soil building crops.

Helmers et al (1986) compared two organic cropping systems with eleven

conventional systems in east-central Nebraska. The organic systems were in a

corn-soybean-corn-oat/sweet clover rotation, as were two of the conventional

systems. The other conventional systems were continuous corn, continuous

soybeans, continuous grain sorghum, and rotations of these crops with each

other. The two organic systems used no inorganic fertilizer and no

herbicides or insecticides. The difference bet::een them was that in one

manure was charged at the cost of applying it and in the other it was charged

at the price of equivalent inorganic fertilizer.

The study covered the years 1978-1985. The yield and input data were

collected from experimental plots managed by the University of Nebraska.

Cost data were taken from USDA farm budget studies for the region and covered

all purchased inputs, machinery operation, and labor (excluding "overhead"

labor). Both input and crop prices were expressed in 1985 dollars. Net

returns were calculated for each system for each year, and represent the

returns to investment in land, machinery, overhead labor, and management.

Animal production was not included in any of the systems studied.

Helmers et al (1986) do not indicate the source of the manure used with the

two organic systems.

The results of the study showed that over the 8 years considered, the

corn-soybean rotation produced the highest average net returns per acre

($175.15). The return to the grain sorghum-soybean rotation was only







slightly less ($172.15) and the third highest return was to continuous

soybeans ($163.90). The return to the organic system in which manure was

charged at application cost was $114.88. Charging manure at the cost of

equivalent fertilizer gave net returns to this system of $92.84. Although

these returns were substantially less than those received by the most

profitable systems, the higher organic return ($114.88) compared favorably to

the returns to the two conventional systems employing the same corn-soybean-

corn-oat/sweet clover rotation.

The main reason for the low net returns of the organic systems relative

to the corn-soybean, grain sorghum-soybean and continuous soybean systems

were lower yields for corn and soybeans and the fact that the organic systems

had part of their land in oats/sweet clover, a low value use.

Helmers et al also considered the stability of net returns to the

various systems, measured by the standard deviation of the returns over the 8

years. By this indicator, net returns of the two organic systems were more

stable than all but 2 of the 11 conventional systems.

For each system Helmers et al also counted the number of years in which

net returns fell below $100 per acre. The organic systems did not compare

well in this respect.

In conversation with one of the authors Helmers said that in east-

central Nebraska most farmers use a corn-soybean rotation, which is

consistent with the finding that over the 8 years studied this was the most

profitable system.

James (1983) used a linear programming approach to compare the relative

profitability of alternative and conventional farms in 3 locations in

central, western and southern Iowa. Data were collected from a variety of

sources and used to construct profiles of "representative" alternative and

conventional farms in the three regions. The principal difference between








the two types of farms was that the conventional farms had the option of

purchasing nitrogen fertilizer, but the alternative farms did not. Neither

type farm used pesticides.

James summed up his results as indicating that "... farming without

commercial nitrogen and chemicals is a viable alternative for some, if not

many Iowa farms. It has particular comparative advantage where farms have a

large part of their land in pasture" (p. 21). By "viable" James evidently

means that net returns to alternative farming were positive in most of the

cases of this system he considered. However, his results show that in no

case were net returns to this system as high as those to conventional systems

in which the option to purchase nitrogen fertilizer was taken.

Dabbert and Madden (1986) studied the economics of shifting from

conventional to alternative agriculture. They used data for 1978-1982

collected by the Rodale Research Center to study a crop-livestock farm of

about 300 acres located near Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Dabbert and Madden

studied only the cropping system on this farm. No herbicides or insecticides

were used on the farm and except for a small amount of starter fertilizer on

corn, all nutrients were supplied by manure and a rotation which included

legumes. Weeds were controlled by mechanical cultivation and rotation.

About one-third of the land was in corn or soybeans, one-third in small

grains (wheat, .barley, oats and rye) and one-thiird in hay (alfalfa or

timothy/red clover). Yields for most of these crops were higher than county

or state averages.

Dabbert and Madden cited the USDA (1980) report on organic farming, and

other sources, as indicating that the shift from conventional to alternative

agriculture frequently entails an initial yield penalty, but that after three

or four years, yields are restored to their former level. Oelhaf (1978) also

states that the shift from conventional to alternative systems generally








entails a yield penalty in the first few years, with subsequent recovery.

However, he notes that after recovery yields under the alternative system

still may be less than under the conventional system. Power and Doran (1984)

came to the same conclusion as Oelhaf.

To reflect this possible yield effect, Dabbert and Madden assumed-that

in the first year after the shift yields would decline 30 percent followed by

a return in linear fashion to the original level in three years.

They also studied the economic consequences of the shift on the

assumption of no yield penalty.

Linear programming was used to study the profitability of the

alternative system relative to that of a conventional system farming the same

land. On the assumption of profit maximization, the conventional system

would have about 75 percent of the farmland in continuous corn and the rest

would be in alfalfa. In the two alternative farming .systems profit

maximization would put the land in various rotations of wheat, soybeans, corn

and alfalfa. The conventional system used pesticides and chemical

fertilizers as needed to achieve profit maximization. The alternative

farming systems used no pesticides (except in undefined emergencies) and

nutrients were provided by purchased chicken manure and legumes in the crop

rotation.

The analysis showed that when the shift to alternative agriculture

imposed no yield penalty net income in the first year of the shift fell 13

percent below net income of the conventional system, but then rose and within

5 years leveled off at 7 percent less than the conventional system. On the

assumption of a 30 percent yield penalty in the first year of the shift, net

income of the alternative system declined 43 percent relative to the

conventional system, but then rose and leveled off at 7 percent less after 5


years.








Apart from the effects of the yield penalty, Dabbert and Madden do not

explicitly discuss reasons for the decline in profitability of the

alternative system. However, their account suggests that the main reason is

the inclusion of less profitable crops (wheat and alfalfa) in the cropping

pattern.

The studies reviewed here are not the only ones devoted to the

comparative micro economics of conventional and alternative farming systems,

but in our judgment they are the most authoritative. (Other studies we

examined are Berardi 1978; Harwood 1984; Poincelot 1986). With the important

exception of the Lockeretz et al studies, they all showed that the

alternative farming systems were less profitable than the conventional

systems with which they were compared. The Lockeretz et al finding of little

difference in profitability may have reflected the unusually dry years in

four of the five years studied. As noted above, in the more normal rainfall

year of 1979, the conventional farms were more profitable.

In the studies reviewed the most obvious reason for the lower

profitability of the alternative systems was the yield penalty imposed by the

fact that these systems necessarily include relatively large amounts of land

in low value rotational uses, both to provide nutrients and to control pests.

The studies are less clear about other causes of the yield penalty, but

difficulties of controlling pests without pesticides is a likely factor. We

already have noted that weed problems were a major concern of the organic

farmers surveyed by Lockeretz et al (1984). The Council for Agricultural

Science and Technology (CAST, 1980) cites a number of sources indicating that

organic farmers name weed control as their number one problem (as it is of

most conventional farmers according to CAST). CAST notes that one of the

advantages of herbicides is that they permit the control of weeds in the crop

row, something that cannot be done with tillage, and can be done by hand only








at very high cost.

Fawcett (1983) discusses other advantages of herbicides relative to

tillage for weed control in field crops. He does not consider hand labor as

an alternative, presumably because the costs of farm labor in the United

States are too high to make that feasible. Herbicides permit earlier

planting in the spring than generally would be possible if weeds were to be

controlled by cultivation. The reason is that when soil temperatures are

cool, as in early spring, many weeds grow faster than emerging corn and

soybean plants. Herbicides permit control of these weeds.

Another advantage of herbicides is that they give easier control of

weeds in the crop row, as noted in the CAST report. Fawcett (1983, p. 2)

states that this permits higher seeding densities, hence higher crop yields.

He says that weeds in the row probably can also be controlled with "...

biological farming, but it is going to be tougher" than controlling them with

herbicides.

Iawcett also asserts that herbicides give greater flexibility in the

timing of cultivation. "Nearly all Iowa farmers still row cultivate... But

they aon't have to be in there in a very timely manner like we do when we

eliminate the use of herbicides" (Fawcett, 1983, p. 2).

Finally, and perhaps most important, although Fawcett does not label it

so, herbicides permit continuous cropping, that is to say they permit farmers

to keep more of their land in relatively high value uses more of the time

than would be possible in a rotational system for weed control.

The literature reviewed gives less attention to the economic effects of

the ban on insecticides in alternative farming systems. Indeed we have found

no discussion addressed specifically to these effects. An adverse indirect

effect can be inferred, however, from the fact that insect control is one of

the important reasons why alternative systems rotate land among various










crops, some of which are of relatively low value.

The CAST report (1980) gives considerable weight to the banning in

alternative systems of fungicides in production of some fruits and

vegetables, including peaches, pears, apples, strawberries, potatoes, onions,

tomatoes, eggplant, celery and squash. According to the report, foliar

fungicidal sprays are the only feasible means of disease control for these

plants. The inability of alternative farming systems to use these sprays

thus puts them at an economic disadvantage in the growing of these crops.

The CAST report also notes that pesticides make it possible to control

disease and insect damage in fresh fruits and vegetables after harvest,

making it possible to store and ship them over longer distances than is

feasible for the same crops grown organically. The potential market for the

conventionally grown crops, therefore, would be larger.

Whether the refusal of alternative farmers to use inorganic fertilizers

contributes to their generally lower yields is uncertain. The literature we

reviewed gives conflicting accounts of this. Power and Doran (1984) assert

that information about the sources of nutrients in alternative agriculture is

limited, although there is agreement that the major sources are manure and

crop residues. Harwood (1984) presents data from the Rodale farm in

Kutztown, Pennsylvania which he asserts indicates that "the potential for

meeting crop nitrogen needs from legumes in rotation has been grossly

underestimated by American scientists" (p. 67). Harwood provides no support

for this assertion, however. Corn yields on the Kutztown farm average about

30 percent above the state average according to Harwood even though the farm

has been operating with "minimum inputs" for over 10 years.

The findings of Papendick et al (1987) support those of Harwood. They

assert that on many organic farms legumes supply most if not all the nitrogen

needed for the entire rotation. Any nitrogen deficit from this source








generally can be compensated by the use of green manures, erosion control to

conserve soil nutrients, and recycling of crop residues, animal manures and

other organic wastes.

Olson et al (1982) estimated the yield effect of banning inorganic

fertilizers on field crops and found it to be substantially negative. They

assumed that yields in the 1940s reflected conditions of minimal use of

inorganic fertilizers and projected the increase of these yields to the 1970s

on the assumption that the only factor in the yield increase was genetic

improvement in plant cultivars. They then used these estimated yields in a

comparison of the economics of conventional and alternative systems.

This seems a questionable procedure for estimating the yield effect of

substituting organic for inorganic sources of nutrients. It ignores all

advances in knowledge of crop production since the 1940s except that embodied

in improved plant cultivars. It also ignores the fact that much plant

breeding after 1940 was aimed at providing fertilizer responsive cultivars to

take advantage of the declining'real price of inorganic fertilizer,

particularly nitrogen. If organic sources of nitrogen had continued to be as

cheap relative to inorganic nitrogen as they were in the 1940s, research on

plant cultivars and farming practices generally would probably have given far

more attention to developing techniques for using organic sources. In this

case, present yields of alternative agriculture likely would compare much

more favorably with yields of conventional agriculture than Olson et al

estimated. Indeed, what is now called "alternative" agriculture might be

conventional agriculture.

It cannot be concluded from the literature we have reviewed that the

substitution of organic for inorganic sources of nutrients contributes

.significantly to the yield difference between alternative and conventional


systems.









The finding of Lockeretz et al (1984) that variable costs of alternative

agriculture are less than those of the conventional system is supported in

the other studies reviewed. The main reason is the saving on purchases of

inorganic fertilizer and pesticides. Lockeretz et al found that the

alternative farmers used only slightly more labor than the conventional

farmers. Other studies, however, show rather significantly more labor with

the alternative system (Oelhaf 1978; Poincelot 1986).

In some instances the economic disadvantages of alternatively grown

products is offset, at least partially, by their ability to command premium
A
prices in specialty markets. There are many references to this in the
A
literature we reviewed. The most complete account was given by Oelhaf
A
(1978). He collected price information from wholesalers of alternatively

grown grains, soybeans, fruits and vegetables. Most of the wholesalers were

in California and the northeast, although some were in the midwest. The

results were variable, but they showed that in general, alternatively grown

crops did in fact command premium prices. Oelhaf concluded that for grains

the premium was about 10 percent. For fruits and vegetablestit was 5-10

percent, although in California prices of some alternativelyrgrown

commodities were less than those conventionally grown. In the northeast the

price premium for alternatively grown fruits and vegetables was somewhat

higher than in California.

Oelhaf's study was done in the mid-1970s. Whether the price

differentials he found still exist was not revealed in the literature we

reviewed.

The material reviewed strongly indicates that at the farm level and in

years of normal rainfall alternative agriculture is less profitable than

conventional agriculture. And this may sufficiently explain the failure of

alternative agriculture to seriously challenge the conventional system in








terms of the quantity of resources devoted to each. Still economics may

not be all there is to it. Some farmers may be ignorant of the advantages of

alternative agriculture, and others may have other non-economic reasons for

not adopting it.

Blobaum (1983) did a study of barriers to adoption of organic farming

methods, focusing on non-economic barriers. Indeed Blobaum concluded,

mistakenly in our view, that economics was not a barrier. He surveyed 547

organic farmers in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska, and

received usable responses from 214. Almost three-quarters of these farmers
A
had formerly farmed conventionally. Blobaum concluded that in their personal
A
characteristics they were much like conventional farmers and motivated mainly
A
by the same practical considerations. When asked to list obstacles to

adoption of alternative farming systems the farmers surveyed most often named

lack of information about practices, lack of marketing information,

especially about the availability of markets offering premium prices for

alternatively produced output, and the need for more research, particularly

about veed control in alternative farming systems. Some also indicated that

the supply of organic fertilizers and other inputs was a problem. About two-










1. Estimates of the number of farmers engaged in alternative agriculture
vary. The USDA (1981) gave a number of 50,000 and in another report
(1980) estimated 11,200 by a strict definition and 24,000 by a broader
one. Harwood (1984) states that less than 60,000 of the subscribers to
the Rodale Organization's New Farm magazine describe themselves as
alternative farmers. In answer to a question from one of the authors,
Garth Youngberg, editor of the American Journal of Alternative
Agriculture, said no one knows how many American farmers have adopted the
system. Whatever the number, it is small relative to the total of some
2.5 million American farmers.







fifths of the correspondents did not use credit. The 60 percent who did

indicated no special problems in getting it.

Despite Blobaum's dismissal of economics as a barrier, it is evident

from the responses he received that it is. In fact, Blobaum himself

concluded that problems of weed control were the major obstacle to

conversion. Clearly, this is an economic problem.

Blobaum also recognized that better information about barriers to

conversion probably would be obtained by surveying conventional farmers who

seriously considered switching to the alternative system, then decided not

to; from farmers who made the shift from conventional to alternative systems,

then shifted back again; or from farmers who originally employed the

alternative system, then switched to conventional farming.

Blobaum did not consider the management requirements of alternative

agriculture as a barrier to conversion nor was management prominently

discussed in the literature on economics we reviewed. It seems clear,

however, that alternative agriculture requires more management time and skill

than conventional agriculture. In a discussion of some of the key

characteristics of successful organic farmers Madden (1987) asserts that they

are "superb managers" with complete knowledge of their farm operations. This

is easy to believe. The elimination of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides

means that the farmer must have enough understanding of the complex

relationships among crops, weeds, insects, diseases, and determinants of soil

fertility to suppress those things that threaten the crop and encourage those

things that make it thrive. To manage his pest and nutrient problems the

conventional farmer needs much less understanding of these relationships.

The organic farmer must also be more careful about the timing of his

operations, as Fawcett's (1983) discussion of the advantages of herbicides

indicates. It is plausible also that he would have to devote more time








annually to management of his farm than the conventional farmer, although

this was not discussed in the literature we reviewed.

The more demanding management requirements of alternative agriculture

may be a barrier to its more widespread adoption. This is not to say that

the average American farmer lacks the mental capacity to acquire the skills

needed to successfully manage an organic farm. The success of farmers in

managing the technological revolution which transformed American agriculture

in the last 40 years is proof enough of their inherent capacity. But

acquiring new management skills takes time, and time is a scarce resource for

farmers, as it is for everyone else. Time spent in acquiring managerial

skills and then applying them on the farm is time not available for other

purposes. Many farmers work part-time off the farm. For them more on-farm

work has an opportunity cost measured by lost off-farm income. More on-farm

work also means less time available for recreation, for family life and other

pursuits of value to the farmer.

Thus the time required to become a successful organic farmer likely is a

barrier to more widespread adoption of organic systems. Given the generally

unfavorable economic returns to such systems, it should not be surprising if

many farmers decline to invest the time needed to acquire the skills needed

to manage them.

Conclusion. The literature reviewed leaves little doubt that at the

farm level alternative agriculture generally is less profitable than

conventional agriculture. This is not a surprising finding. If it were not

so, alternative agriculture would already have displaced conventional

agriculture, or be well on its way toward doing so, which it is not.

Alternative agriculture is less profitable because what it saves in

fertilizer and pesticide costs is not enough to compensate for the additional

labor required and for the yield penalty it suffers relative to conventional








farming. The causes of the yield penalty are not entirely clear, but the

requirement that main crops be rotated with relatively low value legumes

appears important. Problems of controlling weeds without herbicides probably

also contribute to the yield penalty. Our review does not indicate that the

ban on insecticides in alternative farming systems adversely affects yields

directly. However, there is a negative indirect effect since insect control

is one of the reasons for the rotation which includes a low value crop. The

literature consulted does not support the conclusion that nutrient deficiency

contributes to the relatively unfavorable yields of alternative systems.

The use of fungicides and insecticides permits storage and long distance

transport of fresh fruits and vegetables. The ban on the use of these

materials may make the market for alternatively produced fruits and

vegetables smaller than that for their conventionally produced competitors.

Many products of alternative systems received a price premium in the

mid-1970s when Oelhaf (1978) studied them. Whether they still receive this

premium cannot be determined from the literature reviewed. If they do, it

clearly is not enough to overcome the relatively low profitability of

alternative farming systems.


Macro Comparisons

What would the economics of alternative agriculture look like if the

system were to wholly displace the existing system? The question has been

little studied, and the few analyses that have been done have some serious

deficiencies. Indeed, Madden (1987) goes so far as to say that at present

there is no credible evidence about the economic consequences of a large

scale shift to alternative agriculture. We agree that the evidence is weak

but believe that nonetheless some tentative inferences can be extracted from

it.







Olson et al (1982) used a model of the U.S. agricultural economy to

estimate the economic consequences of using alternative agricultural systems

to meet late 1970s levels of demand for farm output. No inorganic.

fertilizers or pesticides were permitted in the alternative system. The

results indicated that production would be much less than in the 1970s

because sharply higher production costs and supply prices would greatly

reduce amounts demanded, both domestically and for export, especially the

latter. Net farm income, however, would rise because of the inelastic demand

for farm output. American society as a whole would be economically worse

off, but farmers would benefit from the shift. Foreigners likely would

suffer short-run economic losses, but in the long run foreign agriculture

would expand to replace the higher cost American output. Olson et al do not

address the issue, but one can infer from their results that American

consumers would seek to import more lower cost agricultural commodities from

abroad. American farmers no doubt would seek trade legislation to block

this.

The results ?f the Olson et al (1982) modeling exercise are largely

determined by their assumption that the wholesale shift to alternative

farming would exaqt a large yield penalty. We already have indicated (p. 14,

above) that we think the procedures by which the penalty was estimated are

dubious. And the amount of the penalty--50 percent for corn, wheat and

soybeans, 70 percent for other feed grains--is much larger than that found in

the studies by Lockeretz et al (1984), Helmers et al (1986) and others in the

literature we have reviewed. If the penalty were less than Olson et al

assumed--say on thpe order of 10-15 percent rather than 50 percent--then the

cost, price and production consequences would be less unfavorable for

alternative agriculture than the Olson et al results indicated.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (1980) also








considered the consequences of a complete shift to alternative agriculture.

CAST estimated that the shift would reduce yields of most crops by 15-25

percent, partly because organic sources of nitrogen would be inadequate to

support current yields and partly because of weed losses resulting from the

ban on herbicides. CAST argues that to maintain production with a 15 to 25

percent yield reduction would require an increase in cropland of 18 to 33

percent if the land were of the same quality as land currently in production.

If the additional land were of inferior quality, the increases in needed land

would be greater than 18 and 33 percent.

Like Olson et al, CAST concluded that a wholesale shift to alternative

agriculture would increase production costs, drive up supply prices, reduce

amounts demanded, hence production, and make farmers as a group economically

better off at the expense of the rest of American society, and perhaps also

of foreigners. CAST also considered distributional effects among regions and

farmers, and concluded that the corn, soybean, and cotton growing areas of

the south and southeast would be relatively disadvantaged because organic

systems for combatting the severe weed and insect problems in those regions

would be less effective than in the midwest and other areas growing those

crops. Regions having inadequate supplies of manure or where growing legumes

is uneconomic, as in dryland wheat growing areas, also would be negatively

affected. CAST also concluded that because the switch to alternative

agriculture would require more cropland, erosion would increase. (But the

amount of additional land would be less than the 18 to 33 percent previously

noted because those numbers assumed maintenance of production at current

levels. In fact, production would decline because of higher production costs

and supply prices.)

Finally, land prices would rise, reflecting the increase in net farm

income, and farm employment and wages would rise because of the relatively








labor intensive nature of alternative agriculture.

Oelhaf (1978) estimated the macro-economic consequences of producing

1974 output with alternative agricultural systems. Like Olson et al and

CAST, he found that production costs would be higher and that more land and

labor would be required. Oelhaf did not explore the consequences for

exports, for the distribution of income among regions or farmers, or between

farmers and consumers. However, one can infer that the consequences would be

in the same direction as those found by Olson et al and CAST: exports would

be reduced, regions and farmers especially dependent on pesticides and

inorganic fertilizer would be disadvantaged, and farmers generally would gain

economically relative to consumers. All of this follows from Oelhaf's

finding that production costs would rise.

Although Oelhaf's conclusions are directionally the same as those of

Olson et al and CAST, quantitatively they show less severe impacts of the

shift to alternative agriculture. At least his estimate of the cost increase

is less. He concluded that after the shift were completed, aggregate annual

production costs would be higher by about 9 percent. (They would be up 10

and 15 percent for wheat and corn respectively, 5 percent for soybeans, 20

and 30 percent respectively for citrus and deciduous fruits [Oelhaf 1978, p.

229]). Taking account of the costs of transition (see above, p. 9) Oelhaf

estimated the total cost of the shift at roughly 15 percent. Olson et al and

CAST do not give specific estimates of the cost of the shift, but their cost

increase estimates are driven in large part by their estimates of the yield

penalty of alternative agriculture, and these estimates show a substantially

higher penalty than that estimated by Oelhaf. It can be inferred, therefore,

that Oelhaf's estimate of the cost increase is less than that of Olson et al

and CAST.

The results of each of the three studies are critically affected by the







estimated yield penalty of alternative agriculture relative to conventional

agriculture. All three studies agree that there would be a penalty, but they

disagree considerably about the amount. We believe the literature we have

reviewed supports an estimate closer to that of Oelhaf than to those of CAST

and Olson et al. However, the evidence on this is thin, and we consider the

issue still open.

A closely related issue about which more can be said concerns the

relationship between the conditions of supply of organic matter and wholesale

adoption of alternative agriculture. The USDA (1978) estimated that the U.S.

annually produces 856 million tons of organic wastes potentially available to

agriculture. Fifty-four percent is crop residues (roots, chaff, stems and

leaves), 22 percent is animal manure, and the rest is sewage sludge and

wastes from food processing, other industry, logging and wood processing, and

municipal wastes other than sewage sludge. About 70 percent of crop residues

currently are directly returned to the soil and 25 percent is fed to animals

(Poincelot, 1986). Almost 90 percent of all farm animal waste also is

returned to the soil.2 Much smaller amounts of the remaining 24 percent of

organic wastes currently are returned to the soil, and the potential for

increasing this contribution is small (Poincelot, 1986). For practical

purposes, crop residues and animal wastes are the principal sources of

organic wastes potentially available to agriculture.

Power and Doran (1984, p. 588) present data showing that the nitrogen






2. Poincelot (1986) indicates that 61 percent of animal wastes are excreted
in unconfined habitats, so all of this is returned to the land. He
states that 73 percent of the 39 percent excreted in confined habitats
also is returned to the land. In total, therefore, 89 percent of all
farm animal wastes are currently returned to the land.








content of all organic wastes produced in the U.S. (apparently in the late

1970s) was 8.1 million tons, 62 percent of it in animal wastes and virtually

all the rest in crop residues. The nitrogen content of fertilizers used by

farmers at that time was 9.1 million tons, most of which was applied to

cropland. These numbers indicate that even if 100 percent of the nitrogen in

crop residues and animal wastes could be made available to farmers on

economical terms, it would not be enough to replace nitrogen fertilizers,

unless the losses of nitrogen in waste material were substantially less than

the losses of fertilizer nitrogen.

The last sentence raises two questions: could all the nitrogen content

of crop and animal wastes be made economically available to farmers? And are

the losses of nitrogen from wastes less than from fertilizer?

Since 70 percent of crop residues already is returned directly to the

soil, the nitrogen in this source already is available to and being used by

farmers. The issue, therefore, is the economics of utilizing the nitrogen in

animal wastes, which includes that in the 24 percent of crop residues fed to

animals.

A major problem in making economical use of animal waste is that so much

of it (61 percent) is excreted in unconfined habitats, most of it no doubt on

range and pasture land, not on cropland where it is most needed. We have

seen no estimates of the cost of collecting these wastes, but it surely would

be high relative to the price of an equivalent amount of nitrogen in

fertilizer.

Apart from collection costs, the costs of transporting nitrogen in

animal wastes is high because 75 to 90 percent of the waste is water (CAST,

1980, p. 13). This observation applies especially to that part of animal

wastes excreted in unconfined habitats. It would apply also, however, to the

27 percent of confined animal wastes not now returned to the land. Since the








remaining 73 percent of wastes from confined animals already is returned to

the land, the economics of doing that can be assumed to be favorable.

The discussion suggests that the economics of collecting and

transporting the nitrogen in animal wastes not already being used by farmers

are unfavorable. And they likely will remain so unless the price of nitrogen

fertilizer rises substantially (but we cannot say how much) above present

levels.

Losses of nitrogen in fertilizer are high, estimates typically running

from 30 to 50 percent or more. The nitrogen, as nitrate, is leached to

groundwater, carried away in runoff, and volatilized by denitrification. If

the losses of nitrogen in animal wastes are, or could economically be made to

be, less than this, then the economics of substituting animal wastes for

fertilizer would be improved.

We have seen no studies of this issue. However, losses of nitrogen in

animal wastes may also be high. CAST (1980, p. 13) says that animal manure

"... must be carefully preserved and applied to realize
its maximum benefits. It is a highly perishable
commodity. The nitrogen and potassium are readily lost
by leaching, and nitrogen is lost also by ammonia
volatilization."

CAST cites the 1978 USDA study on use of organic wastes as indicating that 63

percent of the nitrogen in manure now returned to the land is lost to

volatilization and leaching, and that at best this could be reduced to 45

percent. According to CAST (p. 13), this reduction in loss would increase

the amount of nitrogen from collectible manure from about 9 percent to 12

percent of the amount now supplied in fertilizer.

It seems clear that the potential for increasing the supply of nitrogen

(and other nutrients) by greater utilization of organic wastes is very

limited.

The potential from naturally occurring nutrients in soil organic matter








also is quite limited. According to CAST (1980) most soils farmed in the

United States today have less than half of their original endowment of

organic matter. The main reason is that plowing the soil speeds microbial

decomposition of humic material containing the organic matter. Humus and

organic matter in the soil can be increased by return of crop residues and

animal wastes, but as we already have concluded, most of these materials that

can be economically incorporated in the soil already are.

The only source of organic material that has much promise for replacing

nitrogen fertilizer on a significant scale over the next decade or so is

leguminous crops.3 This, of course, is what alternative agriculture

proposes to do. Apart from whether these crops can produce enough nitrogen

to replace that now available in fertilizer--an unsettled question in our

judgment--it is the necessity of including these crops in rotation with main

crops which depresses the yield of the latter per acre of land in the

rotation. And this yield penalty is a principal reason for the conclusion of

all the studies we have considered that wholesale conversion to alternative

agriculture would drive up the costs.of agricultural production, increase the

amount of land in crops, and have unfavorable (except for farmers) macro-

economic consequences. It seems necessary to conclude that the inelasticity

of supply of organic forms of nitrogen (and other nutrients) would impose

higher economic costs of production on American agriculture should

alternative agriculture be substituted wholesale for the conventional system.






3. Research on biological nitrogen fixation may in time enhance the ability
of leguminous crops to fix nitrogen and, in more time, teach corn and
other non-leguminous crops how to do this also. This would make
alternative agriculture more attractive economically, although the
research is not being done for that reason.









Conclusion. The three studies we reviewed of the macro-economic

consequences of wholesale adoption of alternative agriculture agreed that

production costs would rise and set off a variety of other unfavorable

economic consequences, except for farmers as a group. The studies disagreed,

however, about the severity of the cost increase and the related

consequences, Oelhaf (1978) estimating a smaller increase than Olson et al

(1982) and CAST (1980). An important reason for Oelhaf's lower estimate is

that he expects alternative agriculture to impose a lower yield penalty. Our

reading of the literature suggests that Oelhaf's estimate of the penalty is
A
closer to the mark than the estimates of CAST and, especially, Olson et al.
A
The inelasticity of supply of organic sources of nitrogen, and other

nutrients, might contribute to the yield penalty, although this is unclear.

Even without a nutrient deficiency yield effect, however, wholesale

substitution of organic sources for fertilizer almost surely would tend to

sharply increase nutrient costs, with a consequent increase in total

production costs. The three studies agreed that conversion to alternative

agriculture would increase the amount of land devoted to production. At the

time the studies were done there was a general expectation that over the

coming several decades demand for cropland would rise, even without a shift

to alternative agriculture (e.g. Crosson and Brubaker, 1982). Under those

circumstances,.the additional demand for cropland implied by such a shift

would appear troublesome, both because of increased upward pressure on land

prices and because of the likelihood that the additional land would be more

erosive. The CAST report did in fact express these concerns.

Current thinking, however, is that over the next 50 years the demand for

cropland will decline, perhaps sharply, as the growth of crop yields outpaces

the growth of crop demand (USDA, 1987). These yield projections do not

reflect a large scale shift to alternative agriculture. If such a shift were








to occur, the decline in demand for cropland likely would be less than USDA

(1987) now projects. Nonetheless, in a period of strong land-saving

technological change, such as now seems in prospect, the land-using aspect of

alternative agriculture would appear less threatening--perhaps not

threatening at all--than it would if the trend-of technology generally was

land-using.

On balance, we conclude that a wholesale shift to alternative

agriculture under current conditions would have unfavorable macro-economic

consequences, but that these probably would be closer to those estimated by

Oelhaf than to those by Olson et al and CAST. The fact that alternative
A
agriculture would tend to hold more land in crop production than the
A
conventional system does not appear particularly troublesome, given present

expectations about the long-term growth of demand for crops and for

technological change in agriculture.


Sustainability Comparisons

We assume that the USDA has to be concerned about the long-term

sustainability of American agriculture. More specifically, we assume that

the USDA accepts responsibility for fostering an agricultural system which

will indefinitely meet rising domestic and foreign demand for food and fiber

at constant or declining real economic and environmental costs of production.

This is our definition of a sustainable system.

A principal tenet of the alternative agriculture movement is that the

current agricultural system of the U.S. is not sustainable in this sense.

The charge is based on three arguments: (1) the existing system generates

enough erosion to seriously threaten the long-term productivity of the soil;

(2) the existing system's heavy use of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides

destroys useful biota in the soil, again posing a threat to the soil's long-








term productivity; (3) the existing system relies heavily on fossil fuel

sources of energy which in time will be exhausted.

Erosion and soil productivity. The available evidence does not support

the argument that present levels of erosion in the United States pose a

serious threat to the long-term sustainability of the nation's agriculture.

The relevant evidence is from studies of long-term effects of erosion on soil

productivity done with the Productivity Index (PI) model, the Erosion

Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC) model and with regression analysis at

Resources for the Future (RFF). The studies are discussed and their results

presented in Crosson (1986). Suffice it to say here that the studies agree

in showing that continuation of present rates of cropland erosion for 100

years would reduce crop yields at the end of the period by at most 5-10

percent from what they otherwise would be. If technological advance

increases yields over that period at only one-half the annual rate

experienced over the last 40 years, the negative yield effect of erosion

would be offset several times over.

If the USDA (1987) is right in expecting the amount of land in crops to

decline over the next 50 years, erosion will decline also, probably

proportionately more than the decline in cropland since production would tend

to concentrate on less erosive land. In this case, the long-term threat of

erosion to soil productivity would be even less than presently estimated by

PI, EPIC and RFF.

Conventional systems and soil biota. Although the alternative

agriculture movement severely indicts the conventional system for its

destructive effects on soil biota, documented evidence of this is hard to

find. At least we have found little of it in our literature review. Oelhaf

(1978, p. 33), an advocate of alternative agriculture, asserts that inorganic

fertilizer may adversely affect "soil life" in various ways, but his








subsequent discussion says nothing about "soil life." Instead he describes

how heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer can increase soil acidity, with adverse

yield effects, but notes that this is easily corrected by liming. He also

asserts that on a heavy clay soil continuous cropping, made possible by

substitution of inorganic fertilizer for organic sources, can cause drainage

problems and build up of a subsurface hardpan. He then points out, however,

that subsoiling equipment to break up such hardpans and improve drainage are

available at "modest expense." Whatever these problems, they do not seem to

involve soil biota nor do they appear to be a threat to long-term

sustainability.

Poincelot (1986, p. 117) asserts that there is a "direct relationship"

between organic matter in the soil and the population and distribution of

beneficial soil biota. This relationship is generally accepted in the

literature we have reviewed. It also is generally accepted that with soil,

climate, and other relevant conditions the same, organic farmers typically

achieve higher organic content in their soils than conventional farmers do

(Oelhaf, 1978, p. 25). It would follow that the soils of organic farmers

typically would be richer in soil biota than the soils of conventional

farmers. However it is not clear that the difference raises an issue of

long-term sustainability. It is extensively documented (Crosson and Stout,

1983) that badly eroded, biota impoverished soils can be restored to rich

fertility over a period of some years by adoption of management techniques-

-such as those of alternative agriculture--which build soil organic matter.

The process takes time and involves some expense, but it is not rare.

Consequently, where conventional agriculture severely reduces soil organic

matter and related biota--which it may but does not necessarily do--the

losses need not be permanent. If economic conditions favor it, the soils can

be restored. No sustainability issue arises.








term productivity; (3) the existing system relies heavily on fossil fuel

sources of energy which in time will be exhausted.

Erosion and soil productivity. The available evidence does not support

the argument that present levels of erosion in the United States pose a

serious threat to the long-term sustainability of the nation's agriculture.

The relevant evidence is from studies of long-term effects of erosion on soil

productivity done with the Productivity Index (PI) model, the Erosion

Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC) model and with regression analysis at

Resources for the Future (RFF). The studies are discussed and their results

presented in Crosson (1986). Suffice it to say here that the studies agree

in showing that continuation of present rates of cropland erosion for 100

years would reduce crop yields at the end of the period by at most 5-10

percent from what they otherwise would be. If technological advance

increases yields over that period at only one-half the annual rate

experienced over the last 40 years, the negative yield effect of erosion

would be offset several times over.

If the USDA (1987) is right in expecting the amount of land in crops to

decline over the next 50 years, erosion will decline also, probably

proportionately more than the decline in cropland since production would tend

to concentrate on less erosive land. In this case, the long-term threat of

erosion to soil productivity would be even less than presently estimated by

PI, EPIC and RFF.

Conventional systems and soil biota. Although the alternative

agriculture movement severely indicts the conventional system for its

destructive effects on soil biota, documented evidence of this is hard to

find. At least we have found little of it in our literature review. Oelhaf

(1978, p. 33), an advocate of alternative agriculture, asserts that inorganic

fertilizer may adversely affect "soil life" in various ways, but his









Reliance on fossil fuels. The nitrogen fertilizer used in the United

States is produced from natural gas, and most pesticides are petroleum based.

Since petroleum and natural gas are exhaustible resources, they will someday

become more expensive than they are now, and eventually their price will

become so high as to exclude them from any but the most high value uses.

Their continued use by the existing agricultural system would be inconsistent

with our definition of long-term sustainability.

The point-of course is true. The question is its relevance. That

fossil fuels will someday become much more expensive than they are now does

not mean that we should now stop using them, or even curtail their present

rates of use. The issue is one of timing. So long as the cost of fossil

fuels, taking account of the future opportunity cost of the resource, is less

than the cost of the alternatives, then it is in the social interest to use

fossil fuels. As the supply of them is used up, and their cost rises, it

will be in the social interest at some point to switch to cheaper energy

sources. It also will be in the social interest to invest in research to

develop those cheaper sources so that they are available when costs of fossil

fuels begin a long-term rise. In agriculture renewable sources of energy,

such as those used in alternative agriculture, almost surely will become

economically more important. In a sense, therefore, one can argue that to

maintain the sustainability of American agriculture into the indefinite







4. This statement is true if the social costs of fossil fuels and of
alternatives are understood to include environmental costs as well as
economic costs. In fact, current patterns of fossil fuel use do not
fully reflect environmental costs e.g. those that might result from the
"greenhouse effect." Conventional agriculture, however, uses little
coal, the worst environmental sinner among the fossil fuels.








future, a shift from the present system to something like the alternative

agriculture system will eventually be necessary. But, for reasons already

given, "eventually" is not now.

Conclusion. The argument that American agriculture should shift to the

alternative system over the near term because the existing system is not

sustainable does not hold up. Soil erosion under the existing system is not

a serious threat to long-term productivity. The existing system may reduce

soil biota, in some cases severely, relative to alternative agriculture, but

there is no evidence that the damage is permanent. Finally, the dependence

of the existing system on exhaustible energy sources implies that the system

must eventually be abandoned for one--such as alternative agriculture--which

relies mainly on renewable energy sources. But "eventually" may lie far in

the future. The relative prices of exhaustible and renewable energy sources

clearly indicate that "eventually" is not now.


ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ALTERNATIVE

AND CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE



Our judgment that a wholesale shift to alternative agriculture would

have adverse economic effects on the country is an argument against promoting

such a shift. If, however, alternative agriculture offers environmental

benefits greater than those of the conventional system, this must temper the

judgment against alternative agriculture on economic grounds. We here

discuss the relative environmental benefits and costs of alternative and

conventional agriculture, focusing on ground and surface water quality, on

human health not related to water quality, and on a variety of costs and

benefits associated with animal habitat.








future, a shift from the present system to something like the alternative

agriculture system will eventually be necessary. But, for reasons already

given, "eventually" is not now.

Conclusion. The argument that American agriculture should shift to the

alternative system over the near term because the existing system is not

sustainable does not hold up. Soil erosion under the existing system is not

a serious threat to long-term productivity. The existing system may reduce

soil biota, in some cases severely, relative to alternative agriculture, but

there is no evidence that the damage is permanent. Finally, the dependence

of the existing system on exhaustible energy sources implies that the system

must eventually be abandoned for one--such as alternative agriculture--which

relies mainly on renewable energy sources. But "eventually" may lie far in

the future. The relative prices of exhaustible and renewable energy sources

clearly indicate that "eventually" is not now.


ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ALTERNATIVE

AND CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE



Our judgment that a wholesale shift to alternative agriculture would

have adverse economic effects on the country is an argument against promoting

such a shift. If, however, alternative agriculture offers environmental

benefits greater than those of the conventional system, this must temper the

judgment against alternative agriculture on economic grounds. We here

discuss the relative environmental benefits and costs of alternative and

conventional agriculture, focusing on ground and surface water quality, on

human health not related to water quality, and on a variety of costs and

benefits associated with animal habitat.








Ground and Surface Water Quality

Some quality problems are distinctive between ground and surface water,

e.g. concern about pesticides and nitrates in well water, but ground and

surface water are so closely related hydrologically that many quality

problems are common to both. Accordingly we discuss them together in this

section.

Pesticides. Chemical pesticides are almost completely a product of

conventional agriculture. Even loosely practiced alternative agriculture

makes scant use of them relative to conventional agriculture. To the extent

that pesticides pose water quality problems, therefore, conventional

agriculture is the culprit, and alternative agriculture offers potential for

eliminating the problems.

Hallberg (1987) reports that studies of effects of pesticides on

groundwater quality from routine use are few compared to those of nitrates.

He says, however, that this is beginning to change, citing a study by Cohen

et al (1986) showing that at least 17 pesticides have been found in

groundwater in 23 states as a result of routine agricultural use. The

largest number of pesticides were found in California, New ?ork and Iowa, but

this is because these states engage in closer monitoring than others

(Hallberg, 1987). As monitoring increases in other states the number of

pesticides found is expected to increase (Hallberg, 1987).

The concentrations of pesticides in groundwater resulting from routine

agricultural use are low, ranging in most cases from 0.1 to,1.0 milligrams

per liter (Hallberg, 1987). Hallberg cites evidence suggesting that the

concentrations may be increasing, but this evidently is quite uncertain.

However, some increase seems likely given the increasing use of herbicides.

(Insecticide use is declining.)

In some places where suppliers of pesticides mix or rinse them,








Ground and Surface Water Quality

Some quality problems are distinctive between ground and surface water,

e.g. concern about pesticides and nitrates in well water, but ground and

surface water are so closely related hydrologically that many quality

problems are common to both. Accordingly we discuss them together in this

section.

Pesticides. Chemical pesticides are almost completely a product of

conventional agriculture. Even loosely practiced alternative agriculture

makes scant use of them relative to conventional agriculture. To the extent

that pesticides pose water quality problems, therefore, conventional

agriculture is the culprit, and alternative agriculture offers potential for

eliminating the problems.

Hallberg (1987) reports that studies of effects of pesticides on

groundwater quality from routine use are few compared to those of nitrates.

He says, however, that this is beginning to change, citing a study by Cohen

et al (1986) showing that at least 17 pesticides have been found in

groundwater in 23 states as a result of routine agricultural use. The

largest number of pesticides were found in California, New ?ork and Iowa, but

this is because these states engage in closer monitoring than others

(Hallberg, 1987). As monitoring increases in other states the number of

pesticides found is expected to increase (Hallberg, 1987).

The concentrations of pesticides in groundwater resulting from routine

agricultural use are low, ranging in most cases from 0.1 to,1.0 milligrams

per liter (Hallberg, 1987). Hallberg cites evidence suggesting that the

concentrations may be increasing, but this evidently is quite uncertain.

However, some increase seems likely given the increasing use of herbicides.

(Insecticide use is declining.)

In some places where suppliers of pesticides mix or rinse them,







groundwater concentrations are much higher than the numbers cited above, high

enough to cause the closing of both public and private wells in several

states (Hallberg, 1987).

Most of the pesticides found in groundwater get there by leaching

through the soil. However, in areas with karst-carbonate aquifer terrains

these contaminants can enter groundwater directly through sinkholes and

related features, producing much higher concentrations than those resulting

from leaching (Hallberg, 1987). Hallberg reports that although these karst-

carbonate aquifers sometimes are viewed as special cases, they in fact

underlie extensive areas of agricultural land throughout the U.S.

Nielsen and Lee (1987) analyzed the potential for pollution of

groundwater by 38 pesticides recommended for inclusion in an EPA survey

(underway as of this writing) of pesticides in groundwater. Combining

information about county level rates of use of these pesticides with other

information about their tendency to leach to groundwater and the

"leachability" of soils in areas where they are used, Nielsen and Lee ranked

counties by their potential for groundwater contamination by these

pesticides. They found 361 counties judged to have high contamination

potential because rates of pesticide use are high and soil conditions

favorable for leaching. Another 757 counties have medium potential, either

because pesticide use is high or soil conditions are favorable for leaching.

The high potential counties are mostly in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal

plains stretching from New Jersey through Florida to southern Alabama. Most

of the rest are in Kentucky and in scattered locations in the Lake States of

Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota (Nielsen and Lee, 1987, p. 8). Somewhat

surprisingly, almost no Cornbelt counties and no counties in the Northern and

Southern Plains have high contamination potential.

Nielsen and Lee do not discuss the reasons for the regional distribution








of high potential counties. We cannot be sure, but our guess is that the

main reason is differences in leachability of soils. Rates of pesticide use

in many Cornbelt counties are at least as high as rates in the Atlantic and

gulf coastal plains, but the sandy soils characteristic of the latter regions

are more "leachable" than Cornbelt soils.

The counties with medium potential for groundwater contamination are

mostly in the Cornbelt, including eastern Nebraska, in the Lake States and in

scattered areas of the northeast and upper south.

Nielsen and Lee estimate that 12.6 million people live in the counties

with high or medium potential for pesticide contamination of groundwater.

Another 5.1 million people live in counties where pesticides and nitrates

together create high or medium contamination potential.

Note that Nielsen and Lee identify counties with potential for

pesticides in groundwater. They explicitly do not say that groundwater in

these counties in fact contains pesticides. As indicated above, information

about this is quite limited, which is the reason for the previously mentioned

EPA survey.

Information about pesticide concentrations in surface water evidently is

even more sca ce than that about groundwater. Where they occur, however, the

surface water concentrations tend to be higher than in groundwater. The

reason is that only highly soluble pesticides leach to groundwater, while

less soluble species can be carried to surface water by runoff and, in some

cases, sediment (Hallberg, 1987). Subsurface flow also can carry pesticides

in groundwater to surface water.

For some people the presence of any amount of pesticides in ground or

surface water is sufficient evidence of a serious problem justifying public

action to remove the offending material, and to prevent its further use. The

USDA and other agencies concerned with use of pesticides, however, should








not, and in fact do not, take this extreme position. As the title of a

recent b)ok suggests, The Dose Makes the Poison (Ottoboni, 1984), meaning

that not all concentrations of pesticides are equally threatening and some

may not be threatening at all. Clark et al (1985) write that pesticide

concentr tions in fish have declined significantly since the most persistent

species such as DDT and dieldrin were banned by the Environmental Protection

Agency (EPA). In most fish, the concentrations now are within limits the EPA

considers safe for human consumption. Clark et al go on to say that

mutagenic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic effects of pesticides have been

documented only in cases of relatively high exposure, such as may occur in

occupational situations. Occurrences of high pesticide concentrations in

water supplies appear to be fairly infrequent and localized, and by the time

water reaches a customer tap, pesticide concentrations are seldom, if ever,

at levels thought to produce health effects. However, caution is needed in

interpreting these findings because, as Clark et al note, much remains

unknown about long-term health effects of eyen very small concentrations of

pesticides, nor is much known about synergistic effects among various

pesticides and between pesticides and other substances.

This discussion suggests that if one word can be used to describe the

current situation about pesticides and water quality it is uncertainty:

uncertainty about the concentrations of these materials in ground and surface

water and uncertainty about the significance of the concentrations for human,

animal and plant health. Because of the uncertainty it is impossible to

judge to what extent alternative agriculture's rejection of pesticides would

generate water quality benefits to offset the higher economic costs of these

systems relative to conventional agriculture. However, some offset seems

likely.

In thinking about this it is important to keep in mind that alternative








agriculture is not the only alternative available for reducing environmental

damages of pesticides. Integrated pest management (IPM) also has this

potential, and IPM is consistent with conventional agriculture. Indeed, it

was developed within and now is employed in the context of conventional

agriculture, particularly in the production of cotton. Since IPM, at least

IPM as practiced by most cotton farmers, does not necessarily eliminate the

use of pesticides, it is not an acceptable practice in pure forms of

alternative agriculture.

Despite this, and the uncertainty about the effect of alternative

agriculture in reducing pesticide damages to water quality, we believe these

effects should be given some weight as an offset to the economic

disadvantages of alternative agriculture. We cannot judge how great the

weight should be, although we doubt that it is high. But it probably is

positive.

Nutrients. Nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff and carried by sediment

contribute to eutrophication of surface water bodies, and nitrogen in the

nitrate form is leached to groundwater, where it may pose a threat to human

and animal health. It is not clear that alternative agriculture has an

advantage relative to conventional agriculture in reducing nitrate damages to

water quality. Oelhaf (1978, p. 34) states that "Heavy manuring causes the

same nitrate problems as heavy chemical applications." And CAST (1980)

asserts that the nitrate in fertilizer is more readily available to the crop

than that in manure or leguminous crops. Consequently, the amount of the

nutrient remaining in the soil after harvest is greater with these sources,

suggesting that they may contribute more to nitrate pollution than inorganic

nitrogen fertilizer. Poincelot (1986) and Papendick et al (1987) also

emphasize that mismanagement of manure and other organic wastes-can result in

the same problems of nitrate pollution as with inorganic fertilizers.








Thus the potential for nitrate damage to water quality appears to be

about the same for alternative and conventional agricultural systems.

Whether the two systems differ in fact in the amount of damage appears to be

unknown. Papendick et al (1987, p. 23) assert (without substantiating

evidence) that "organic farmers appear to be able to control availability and

release of nitrogen through various techniques of soil management." (Note

that this contradicts the CAST [1980] assertion cited above about differences

in nitrate availability to the plant.) However, Papendick et al (1987, p.

23) then go on to state that

"... there are little or no hard data available on
leaching loss of nitrates on organic farms. Lack of such
data make it difficult to quantitatively assess the
impact of nitrates in groundwater that could occur on a
macroscale with a shift to organic practices."

We conclude that present evidence does not indicate benefits of

alternative agriculture in reduced nitrate pollution of ground and surface

water that would tend to offset the economic disadvantages of the system.

On sloping, erosive soils alternative agriculture generally will produce

much less erosion than conventional agriculture. Since much of the

phosphorus delivered to surface water is carried by sediment, the erosion-

reducing characteristics of alternative agriculture ought to give the system

a potential advantage relative to conventional agriculture in reducing

eutrophication of lakes and reservoirs where phosphorus is the limiting

nutrient. Whether in fact alternative agriculture has this advantage is not

clear in the literature we have reviewed. We believe it plausible, however,

to credit alternative agriculture with some positive effect in this respect.

We cannot judge, however, how important this effect might be as an offset to

the economic disadvantages of the system. We would need information about

the amount of eutrophication damage, the contribution of agricultural sources

of phosphorus to it, and the effect of alternative agriculture in reducing








the damage. None of this information exists, at least not in the form needed

to make such a judgment.

Sediment. Estimates of Clark et al (1985), expressed in 1985 prices

(Crosson, 1986), indicate that sediment damage to surface water quality costs

the nation $4 billion to $16 billion annually. Clark et al estimate that

cropland erosion is responsible for about one-third of this damage. The
I
erosion-reducing characteristics of alternative agriculture on sloping,

erosive land ought to give it a clear advantage over conventional agriculture

in reducing these damages. This is subject to the caveat that the

relationship between reduction in erosion on the land and the reduction in
A
sediment damage downstream often is unclear (Crosson, 1986). Nonetheless, we

believe that alternative agriculture has a clear advantage over conventional

agriculture with respect to sediment damage to water quality.

However, alternative agriculture is not the only system with this

advantage. On sloping, erosive land, conservation tillage--defined as any

tillage system which leaves at least 30 percent of the previous crop residue

on the soil surface after spring planting--reduces erosion 50-90 percent

relative to conventional tillage (Crosson, 1981). However, conservation

tillage as typically practiced does not qualify as alternative agriculture

because it relies on herbicides at least as much as, and often more than,

conventional tillage. Conservation tillage is used on roughly one-third of

the nation's cropland, far more than is in alternative agriculture. The

reason is that conservation tillage is more economically competitive than

alternative agriculture with conventional agriculture. Thus, conservation

tillage appears to offer a more economical alternative for reducing sediment

damage than alternative agriculture. However, the benefits of conservation

tillage in reduced sediment damage could be bought at the price of increased

herbicide damage, a price alternative agriculture does not have to pay.









Human Health Not Related to Water Quality

Two issues are treated in this connection: threats to human health from

pesticide residues on food and from the handling of pesticides in the course

of applying them.

SResidues on food. The EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

share responsibility for regulating pesticide residues on food, the EPA

dealing with unprocessed commodities and FDA with those which are processed.

The two agencies are occasionally criticized for laxness in discharging their

respective responsibilities. However, our review of the literature turned up

little documented evidence that pesticide residues on food are in fact a

serious threat to human health. The CAST report (1980) cites a study by the

National Research Council showing that in the U.S. per capital consumption of

pesticide residues in or on food was about 40 milligrams, over half of it

being pesticides no longer in use at that time. The aggregate acute toxicity

of these residues was roughly equivalent to the acute toxicity of one aspirin

or one cup of coffee. However, the CAST report notes that longer term

effects of chronic exposure to such small amounts of pesticides had not been

satisfactorily resolved by the available scientific evidence.

A later report by the National Research Council (1987), addressed the

longer term risk of pesticide residues on food, specifically the risk of

cancer. The report concluded that the residues increase the expected

lifetime risk of cancer for the average American by 0.4 percent. That is,

over a 70 year life an individual has a 25 percent chance of contracting

cancer, apart from cancers resulting from pesticide residues on food. The

residues, according to the NRC report, would increase the probability of

cancer to 25.1 percent, an increase of .4 percent. The report indicates

that the procedures to derive this estimate were more likely to overstate









Human Health Not Related to Water Quality

Two issues are treated in this connection: threats to human health from

pesticide residues on food and from the handling of pesticides in the course

of applying them.

SResidues on food. The EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

share responsibility for regulating pesticide residues on food, the EPA

dealing with unprocessed commodities and FDA with those which are processed.

The two agencies are occasionally criticized for laxness in discharging their

respective responsibilities. However, our review of the literature turned up

little documented evidence that pesticide residues on food are in fact a

serious threat to human health. The CAST report (1980) cites a study by the

National Research Council showing that in the U.S. per capital consumption of

pesticide residues in or on food was about 40 milligrams, over half of it

being pesticides no longer in use at that time. The aggregate acute toxicity

of these residues was roughly equivalent to the acute toxicity of one aspirin

or one cup of coffee. However, the CAST report notes that longer term

effects of chronic exposure to such small amounts of pesticides had not been

satisfactorily resolved by the available scientific evidence.

A later report by the National Research Council (1987), addressed the

longer term risk of pesticide residues on food, specifically the risk of

cancer. The report concluded that the residues increase the expected

lifetime risk of cancer for the average American by 0.4 percent. That is,

over a 70 year life an individual has a 25 percent chance of contracting

cancer, apart from cancers resulting from pesticide residues on food. The

residues, according to the NRC report, would increase the probability of

cancer to 25.1 percent, an increase of .4 percent. The report indicates

that the procedures to derive this estimate were more likely to overstate








than to understate the increased cancer risk.

We conclude that adoption of alternative agriculture would do little to

reduce threats of acute toxicity,. or cancer, of pesticide residues on or in

food because these threats already are small.

Health threats from handling pesticides. Pimentel et al (1980)

estimated deaths from pesticides by accident, homicide and suicide to have

been several hundred per year in the 1970s. They estimated illnesses from

pesticide poisoning in the tens of thousands. These numbers are subject to

considerable error, as Pimentel et al recognize, because state reporting of

the necessary data is sometimes spotty, and the data about accidents is

inherently difficult to collect. Nonetheless, there appears to be little

doubt that the human and economic cost of pesticide poisoning of farmers,

their families and their hired workers is significant. In our judgment the

fact that alternative agriculture would drastically reduce if not eliminate

this cost is its most important environmental advantage related to

conventional agriculture.


Animal Habitat

The literature we reviewed gives contradictory evidence on the effects

of conventional and alternative agriculture for animal habitat. Writing

about the south (the-eleven states of the Confederacy plus Kentucky and parts

of Oklahoma), Healy (1985, p. 225) states that

"On balance, the land-use changes that have taken place in
the South since about 1935 have probably improved carrying
capacity for many game species by creating a more diverse
local habitat. Field abandonment, more frequent timber
harvest, and the change from cotton to soybeans, for
example, have done more help than harm. Even activities
such as establishment of pine plantations and clearing of
hardwood forests, which are generally undesirable in their
habitat effects, did not for a long time have much impact
on game."

Healy clearly is talking about more than crop production. However, the








than to understate the increased cancer risk.

We conclude that adoption of alternative agriculture would do little to

reduce threats of acute toxicity,. or cancer, of pesticide residues on or in

food because these threats already are small.

Health threats from handling pesticides. Pimentel et al (1980)

estimated deaths from pesticides by accident, homicide and suicide to have

been several hundred per year in the 1970s. They estimated illnesses from

pesticide poisoning in the tens of thousands. These numbers are subject to

considerable error, as Pimentel et al recognize, because state reporting of

the necessary data is sometimes spotty, and the data about accidents is

inherently difficult to collect. Nonetheless, there appears to be little

doubt that the human and economic cost of pesticide poisoning of farmers,

their families and their hired workers is significant. In our judgment the

fact that alternative agriculture would drastically reduce if not eliminate

this cost is its most important environmental advantage related to

conventional agriculture.


Animal Habitat

The literature we reviewed gives contradictory evidence on the effects

of conventional and alternative agriculture for animal habitat. Writing

about the south (the-eleven states of the Confederacy plus Kentucky and parts

of Oklahoma), Healy (1985, p. 225) states that

"On balance, the land-use changes that have taken place in
the South since about 1935 have probably improved carrying
capacity for many game species by creating a more diverse
local habitat. Field abandonment, more frequent timber
harvest, and the change from cotton to soybeans, for
example, have done more help than harm. Even activities
such as establishment of pine plantations and clearing of
hardwood forests, which are generally undesirable in their
habitat effects, did not for a long time have much impact
on game."

Healy clearly is talking about more than crop production. However, the







period of which he writes encompasses that in which crop production in the

south shifted to the high energy and chemical based system we now call

conventional agriculture. Healy's conclusion is that this shift was

accompanied by favorable changes in habitat of game animals.

Cacek (1985) considers effects of conventional agriculture from the mid-

1950s to the mid-1970s on wildlife habitat in 12 midwestern states and comes

to a much less favorable conclusion than Healy did with respect to the south.

Cacek cites a study indicating that from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s

wildlife populations in these states declined 40 to 80 percent, pheasant in

Ohio being particularly hard hit. Cacek attributes these declines to

transformation of crop production in this period, particularly the dramatic

increase in use of agricultural chemicals, a decrease in crop diversity,

increases in the size of machinery and fields, and the reduction in acreage

in set-aside programs.

Cacek goes on to recount the advantages of alternative agriculture in

improving animal habitat, particularly by providing nesting places for birds

and avoiding the danger of pesticide poisoning.

The USDA (1987) projects a decline of tens of millions of acres in crops

over the next 50 years. Much of this land will shift to a variety of urban

and other non-agricultural uses, almost surely with unfavorable habitat

consequences. However, habitat on the land which shifts out of crops but

remains in agriculture should improve. What the net habitat effect of these

changes in land use would be is not clear from the information provided in

USDA (1987).

A large scale shift to alternative agriculture almost certainly would

result in more and better animal habitat than the USDA projections imply.

Not only would the shift of land out of agriculture be less than in the USDA

projections, habitat on all land devoted to crop production would be








improved, if Cacek (1985) is right about the relative habitat benefits of

alternative agriculture.

We believe this is a strong argument for the social value of alternative

agriculture relative to conventional agriculture. Healy's work (1985) and

that of various authors in Decker and Goff (1987) indicate that many people

in the United States place a high value on wildlife, both as hunters and as

"nonconsumptive users", e.g. bird watchers. With continued growth in

population, income and leisure over the next 50 years, demand for these

various uses of wildlife is sure to grow, probably quite substantially. The

benefits of alternative agriculture relative to those of conventional

agriculture in providing wildlife habitat could be expected to grow

correspondingly.

Conclusion

By eliminating the use of pesticides, alternative agriculture probably

would give some positive benefit in improved water quality relative to

conventional agriculture. Not much more than this can confidently be said

because the uncertainties about the concentrations of pesticides in ground

and surface water and about the environmental significance of the

concentrations are so great. Moreover, IPM, which does not qualify as

alternative agriculture, may be more cost-effective in reducing pesticide

damage to water quality than alternative agriculture.

The evidence suggests little difference between alternative agriculture

and conventional agriculture with respect to nitrate pollution of ground and

surface water. However, because alternative agriculture reduces erosion on

sloping and more erosive land, it probably has some advantage in reducing

phosphorus deliveries to lakes and reservoirs. The information available is

insufficient to judge how important this advantage might be.

The erosion reduction advantage might be significant, however, in








reducing sediment damage because evidence suggests these damages now amount

to billions of dollars each year.

The threat to human health of pesticide residues in food evidently is

small. Consequently the health benefits of eliminating these residues by

shifting to alternative agriculture would be small. However, the shift

likely would yield substantial benefits in reduced deaths and illnesses

stemming from application of pesticides.

By holding more land in agriculture than would occur with conventional

agriculture, and providing a more diverse habitat on that land, alternative

systems likely would yield considerably greater benefits in improved animal

habitat than the conventional system.

We are unable to judge the extent to which these environmental benefits

of alternative agriculture would offset its economic disadvantages. However,

we believe the offset probably is large enough--particularly that stemming

from reduced pesticide deaths and illnesses and from habitat improvement--for

the USDA to give thought to how it might stimulate farmer interest in

alternative systems. We present some thoughts on this in the next section.


THOUGHTS ON IMPLICATIONS FOR USDA POLICIES



For at least the last 40 or 50 years, agricultural research in the

United States has been aimed at developing systems of increasing economic

productivity. Systems which offered gains in environmental benefits only at

some sacrifice of economic productivity were relatively neglected.

Consequently our conclusion that alternative agriculture suffers a

significant economic disadvantage relative to conventional agriculture is not

surprising. However, our finding that alternative agriculture conveys

environmental benefits relative to conventional agriculture suggests that the

USDA should begin to give more attention to development of alternative








agriculture than it has heretofore.

Given the present economic disadvantage of alternative agriculture, USDA

policies to encourage a large scale shift to alternative systems over the

next decade or so could not be justified. We think, however, that a policy

to put more resources into research on the comparative economic and

environmental characteristics of alternative and conventional agriculture

deserves serious consideration by USDA. With respect to economics, research

on the causes of the yield penalty alternative agriculture now suffers should

have high priority. Weed control with substantially reduced use, if not

elimination, of herbicides should be the primary initial target. We do not

believe the aim of the research should necessarily be elimination of all

herbicide use. The objective should be a system which is more competitive

economically with the conventional system while significantly less dependent

on herbicides. "Significantly less dependent" does not necessarily imply

zero use, although it may. If this research succeeds, farmers will have

increasing economic incentive to adopt alternative agriculture, and the

system will spread. Farmers will gain economically, and society generally

will reap gains in environmental improvement.

With respect to environmental characteristics, the USDA should support

collection and analysis of data on pesticide use and consequences for

environmental quality. Since other federal agencies, e.g. the EPA, also have

responsibilities in this area, we do not seek to specify what the role of the

USDA should be. However, we believe an initiating rather than a reactive

posture would be appropriate for USDA, given its responsibilities for the

overall health of the nation's agriculture.

The animal habitat benefits of alternative agriculture relative to

conventional agriculture also deserve additional research attention.

Analytical techniques have been developed to estimate unpriced benefits of





46


this general sort, but the techniques have not been brought systematically to

bear on study of the relative habitat benefits of the two contending

agricultural systems. If we are right in thinking that alternative

agriculture is particularly favored in this respect, and that growing future

demand for wildlife services will strengthen that advantage even more, then

the payoff to research along this line should be high, both to the USDA in

pursuit of its mission and to the nation's interest in best use of its

resources.










REFERENCES



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Element for Pest Control in Sustainable Agriculture," in T. Edens, C.
Fridgen, and S. Battenfield (eds.), Sustainable Agriculture and
Integrated Farming Systems, Michigan State University Press, East
Lansing.

Berardi, G.M. 1978. "Organic and Conventional Wheat Production: Examination
of Energy and Economics," Agro-Ecosystems 4:367-376.

Cacek, T. 1985. "Impacts of Organic Farming and Reduced Tillage on Fish and
Wildlife", in Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Farming Systems,
Thomas C. Edens, Cynthia Fridgen, and Susan L. Battenfield, (eds.),
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Clark II, E., J. Haverkamp and W. Chapman. 1985. Eroding Soils: the Off-
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Cohen, S., C. Eiden and M. Lorber. 1986. "Monitoring Ground Water for
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Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. 1980. Organic and
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Crosson, P. 1986. "Soil Erosion and Policy Issues," in T. Phipps, P.
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Crosson, P. and A. Stout. 1983. Productivity Effects of Cropland Erosion in
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Crosson, P. 1981. Conventional Tillage and Conservation Tillage: A
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Iowa.

Decker, D. and G. Goff. 1987. Valuing Wildlife: Economic and Social
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Hallberg, George R. 1987. "Agricultural Chemicals in Ground Water: Extent
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Hallberg, George R. 1986. "Agrichemicals and Water Quality," paper prepared
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Washington, D.c., March.

Harwood, R. 1984. "Organic Farming Research at the Rodale Research Center,"
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Agriculture, ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin.

Healy, R. 1987. Competition for Land in the American South, The
Conservation Foundation, Washington, D.C.










Helmers, Glenn A., Joseph Atwood, and Michael R. Langemeier. 1984.
"Economics of Alternative Crop Rotations for East-central Nebraska -- A
Preliminary Analysis," Department of Agricultural Economics Staff Paper
No. 14-1984, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

James, Sidney C. 1983. "Economic Consequences of Biological Farming," in
Proceedings of the Management Alternatives for Biological Farming
Workshop, Robert B. Dahlgren, (ed), Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit,
Iowa State University, Ames.

James, S.C. 1982. "Economics of Biological Farming," in R.B. Dahlgren (ed.)
Proceedings, Midwest Agricultural Interface with Fish and Wildlife
Resources Workshop, Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State
University, Ames.

Judy, Robert D., Jr., et al. 1984. 1982 National Fisheries Survey. Vol. I,
Technical Report: Initial Findings, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services,
Washington, D.C., FWS/OBS-84/06.

Kaufman, M. 1985. "The Pastoral Ideal and Sustainable Agriculture," in T.
Edens, C. Fridgen, and S. Battenfield (eds.) Sustainable Agriculture and
Integrated Farming Systems, Michigan State University Press, East
Lansing.

Koepf, H.H. 1973. "Organic Management Reduces Nitrate Leaching,"
Biodynamics 108:20-30.

Lockeretz, William. 1986. "Alternative Agriculture," in New Directions for
Agriculture and Agricultural Research: Neglected Dimensions and Emerging
Alternatives, Kenneth A. Dahlberg, (ed.), Rowman & Allanheld, Totowa,
New Jersey.

Lockeretz, William, et al. 1984. "Comparison of Organic and Conventional
Farming in the Corn Belt," in D.F. Bezdicek, et al, (eds.), Organic
Farming: Current Technology and Its Role in a Sustainable Agriculture,
ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin.

Lockeretz, William, et al. 1981. "Organic Farming in the Corn Belt,"
Science, 211:540-547.

Lockeretz, W. 1980. "Maize Yields and Soil Nutrient Levels With and Without
Pesticides and Standard Commercial Fertilizers," Agronomy Journal
72:65-72.

Lockeretz, William, et al. 1978.. "Field Crop Production on Organic Farms in
the Midwest," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 33, no. 3,
May-June.

Madden, Patrick. 1987. "Economic Evaluation of Alternative Farming
Practices and Systems", unpublished draft.

National Research Council. 1987. Regulating Pesticides in Food, National
Academy of Sciences, Washington, D. C.-

Nielsen, E. and L. Lee. 1987. The Magnitude and Costs of Groundwater
Contamination from Agricultural Chemicals, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, AER no. 576, Washington, D.C.







49


Oelhaf, Robert C. 1978. Organic Agriculture, Allanheld, Osmun & Co.,
Montclair, New Jersey.

Ottoboni, M. 1984. The Dose Makes the Poison, Vicente Books, Berkeley,
California.

Pimentel, D., et al. 1980. "Environmental and Social Costs of Pesticides: A
Preliminary Assessment," OIKOS, vol. 34, no. 2.

Poincelot, Raymond P. 1986. Toward a More Sustainable Agriculture, AVI
Publishing, Westport, Connecticut, 241 pages.

Power, J.F., and J.W. Doran. 1984. "Nitrogen Use in Organic Farming,"
Nitrogen in Crop Production, American Society of Agronomy, Madison,
Wisconsin.

Roberts, K.J., P.F. Warnken, and K.C. Schneeberger. 1979. "The Economics of
Organic Crop Production in the Western Corn Belt," Agricultural
Economics Paper #1979-6, University of Missouri, Columbia.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1987. The Second RCA Appraisal: Review
Draft, Washington, D.C.

1978. Improving Soils with Organic Wastes, Office of the
Secretary, Washington, D.C.

USDA Study Team on Organic Farming. 1980. Report and Recommendations on
Organic Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.,
620-220-3641.

Youngberg, Garth. 1980. "Organic Farming: A Look at Opportunities and
Obstacles," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 35, no. 6,
Nov.-Dec.







ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Altieri, Miguel A., James Davis, and Kate Burroughs. 1983. "Some
Agroecological and Socio-economic Features of Organic Farming in
California. A Preliminary Study," in Biological Agriculture and
Horticulture, vol 1.

Abstract: A survey involving a written questionnaire to 120 organic
farmers and direct interviews with selected farmers was conducted to
provide a preliminary assessment of the state of organic farming in
California. A case study was made of.apple production systems where
some of the organic systems appeared to.be economically viable. The
lower yields of organic apples were offset by reduced input costs. It
is concluded that expansion of organic agriculture in California is
limited mainly by socio-economic factors.

The authors draw the following conclusions from the survey:

1. Organic farming is practiced by a minority of farmers in
California. However, an increasing number of farmers are combining
conventional and organic methods.

2. Some of the surveyed organic apple systems seemed to be economically
viable operations. The lower yields associated with organic
technologies were apparently offset by reduced input costs.

3. The main limitations to the expansion of organic agriculture in
California are associated with socio-economic factors such as
marketing, public acceptance, legislation and the lack of a local
infrastructure that can provide credit, appropriate technology,
information and resources to organic growers.


Blobaum, Roger. 1983. "Barriers to Conversion to Organic Farming Practices
in the Midvestern United States," in Environmentally Sound Agriculture,
William Lockeretz (ed.), Praeger, New York.

The relatively small number of conventional farmers who have converted
to organic practices suggests that there are serious barriers to
conversion. This study examines eight potential barriers, using
information on how they are perceived by organic farmers who overcame
them. Of the 133 respondents 26Z identified the main factor in their
switch from conventional to organic methods as the influence of a friend
or relative.

Potential barriers to conversion identified were:

1. lack of easy access to reliable organic farming information
2. inability to get research done on problem areas (e.g. weed control)
3. difficulty obtaining special market information
4. market structure problems (e.g., small orders, long delays in getting
paid, confusing certification standards, etc.)
5. logistics and other problems related to products supplied by organic
fertilizer companies
6. weed control problems (research needed)








7. landlord discrimination (not a serious barrier)
8. credit discrimination (does not appear to be a serious barrier)

Oelhaf (1978) examined the economic implications of a hypothetical large-
scale shift to organic methods and concluded that the resources needed to
expand organic farming appeared to be available.

Cites USDA 1980 as the first national study, which concluded that
research and educational programs should be developed and implemented to
address the needs and problems of organic farmers and to enhance the
success of conventional farmers who want to shift toward organic farming.


Buttel, Frederick H., et al. 1986. "Reduced-input Agricultural Systems:
Rationale and Prospects," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture,
vol. 1, no. 2, Spring.

Appear to argue for alternative agricultural practices to reduce erosion
and run-off of chemicals and sediments to protect water resources.

Conclude that:

a) reduced input agricultural systems improve productivity by reducing
the use of input, rather than by increasing output;

b) farmers adopt nonchemical practices not for philosophical,
religious, or ideological reasons, but to solve a particular production
or animal or human health problem; and,

c) comparative studies favorable to reduced-input agriculture have a
key limitation, i.e. they generally fail to recognize that macro-level
consequences cannot be accurately inferred from micro-level data.

According to the authors there has been no competent, comprehensive
research on macro-implications of reduced-impact practices using
reasonable assumptions.


Cacek, Terry, and Linda L. Langner. 1986. "The Economic implications of
Organic Farming," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, vol. 1,
no. 1, Vinter.

Organic farming can compete economically with conventional farming in
the Corn Belt and the semi-arid Northwest -- and established organic
farmers are less vulnerable to natural and economic riskE; tan
conventional farmers because their systems are more diversified.

On a national scale, conversion to organic farming would reduce federal
costs for supporting commodity prices, reduce depletion of fossil fuels,
reduce the social costs associated with erosion, improve fish & wildlife
habitats, and insure productivity of land for future generations, but
would have an undesirable impact on the balance of trade.








Cacek, Terry. 1984. "Organic Farming: The Other Conservation Farming
System," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 39, no. 6,
Nov.-Dec.

Compares 'organic farming' with 'conservation tillage' and then looks at
both related to 'conventional farming.'

concludes that organic farming (uses USDA 1980 definition) systems
produce conservation benefits extending to soils, water, nutrients,
energy and wildlife, and are economically and agronomically competitive
with conventional and conservation tillage systems.


Coleman, Eliot. 1985. "Toward a New McDonald's Farm," in Sustainable
Agriculture and Integrated Farming Systems, Thomas C. Edens, Cynthia
Fridgen, and Susan L. Battenfield, (eds.), Michigan State University
Press, East Lansing.
A
The major difference between "organic" (biologically based) and modern
Chemically based) production is the basis on which the two systems
operate, in particular -- organic agriculture deals with information
Input rather than product input solutions to the dynamics of food
production. The author attempts to "package" the complexity of an
organic system so that farmers can adopt this way of farming, stressing
the need for management ability with this system.

In a non-herbicide system, cultivation is the key. The author tries to
avoid cultivating as much as possible by transplanting, which gets the
plant ahead of the weeds.


Coleman, Eliot V. 1983. "Impediments to Adoption of an Ecological System of
Agriculture," in Agriculture, Change, and Human Values, R. Haynes and R.
Lanier (eds.), University of Florida, Gainesville, vol. 2.

Poses the question as to why there has not been more rapid adoption of
some of the alternative production technologies recommended in the
widely distributed USDA (1980) Report and Recommendations on Organic
Farming, and suggests the following.

Identifies as the key impediment to the adoption of an ecological system
of agriculture the dichotomy that exists between a symptom treatment
mentality, so much a part of our everyday existence,an a cause
correction approach inherent in an ecological system of agriculture.
Our reliance on a symptom treatment approach leaves us without an
alternative if our palliatives prove inadequate, while a cause
correction approach emphasizes the well-being of the plant and requires
a major shift in attitude. (Points to extensive published literature
which documents the potential for controlling pest problems through
attention to the growing conditions and nutrient status of the plant.)

Philosophical and psychological impediments, such as our deep-seated
prejudice to understanding and cooperating with nature, are more
substantive and harder to change than the impediments that follow.








Definitional (What are we talking about?)

Organic agriculture is often presented as a lifestyle, ignoring its
scientific aspects; often presented in negative terms ("don't use this")
or in terms of substitution ("use this instead of that"). The issue
instead is the long-range physical and environmental stability of our
food production system.

Attitudinal (inertia and misunderstanding)

This includes the human inclination to embrace the familiar as well as a
negative reaction to the naive, sectarian, and sometimes accusatory
manner in which so many alternative ideas have been presented.

The distortions of the chemical-organic controversy have kept farmers
from realizing that low-input systems offer potential options which do
not exist in the present system. This conclusion is based on the
author's interaction with a large farmer's organization when invited to
speak on the benefits of alternative agriculture. Perception on the
part of the group was that organic farming was a dangerous revolutionary
movement which advocated (1) banning all pesticides, and (2) breaking up
large farms into small farms and giving them to the poor.

Scientific (resistance to change)

The scientific community may feel that their lives lose value if the
system they have developed is scrapped. There is a need to recognize
the invaluable resource of experienced scientists, interest them in the
potential of a different approach, and encourage their participation in
fine-tuning the emerging ecological agricultural systems.

Economic

Those with a vested interest in the status quo (e.g. manufacturers and
purveyors of chemicals) are not going to voluntarily abandon this field
and lay down their sales force in favor of an ecological agriculture.
It may be to their advantage, however, to explore the needs of
ecological farmers, such as access to improved data on soil tests, plant
tissue analysis, crop rotation programs, etc., and begin to provide
these new inputs.


Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. 1980. "Comparison of
Conventional and Organic Farming Published," Journal of Soil and Water
Conservation, Vol. 35, No. 6, Nov.-Dec.

Differed from USDA on the probable results of a move toward organic
farming. Concludes that widespread adoption would cause an increase in
soil erosion since more acres of marginal land would need to be
cultivated to meet total crop production needs.









Dabbert, Stephan and Patrick Madden. 1986. "The Transition to Organic
Agriculture: A Multi-year Simulation Model of a Pennsylvania Farm,"
American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, vol. 1, no. 3, Summer.

A farm's profits during the transition from chemical-intensive to
organic farming methods are determined by a combination of five kinds of
effects: rotation adjustment, biological transition, price, learning,
and a perennial effect.

Transition can cause severe short-term financial losses, but the
magnitude of these losses (compared to established organic farming or a
continued conventional operation) can vary widely under different yield
reduction scenarios.

Soil erosion was not limited in this study -- the conventional option
earns a 7.3% higher profit while incurring nearly twice as much soil
erosion as the established organic option.


Darby, Gerald M. 1985. "Conservation Tillage: An Important, Adaptable Tool
for Soil and Vater Conservation," in El-Swaify, et al (eds.), Soil
Erosion and Conservation, Soil Conservation Society of America.

Concludes that conservation tillage reduces soil erosion and increases
water infiltration, generally with yields comparable to those under
conventional tillage. Some types of CT rely on herbicides rather than
tillage for weed control. Well-managed CT systems generally improve
soil fertility.


Domanico, Jean L., Patrick Madden, and Earl J. Partenheimer. 1986. "Income
Effects of Limiting Soil Erosion Under Organic, Conventional, and No-
till Systems in Eastern Pennsylvania," American Journal of Alternative
Agriculture, vol. 1, no. 2, Spring.

Without constraints on soil erosion, no-till was the most profitable,
then conventional, followed closely by the organic option. At low
levels of soil erosion, no-till remained the most profitable and the
economic advantage of conventional over organic diminished as soil
erosion was constrained. Below 5 tons per acre of soil erosion, the
organic system became more profitable than the conventional system.


Edens, Thomas C. 1985. "Toward a Sustainable Agriculture," in Sustainable
Agriculture and Integrated Farming Systems, Thomas C. Edens, Cynthia
Fridgen, and Susan L. Battenfield, (eds.), Michigan State University
Press, East Lansing.

Feels that our greatest concern, both nationally and globally, must be
to avoid evolving an agricultural system that can be sustained only with
large inputs of exhaustible resources.








Freudenberger, C. Dean. 1986. "Value and Ethical Dimensions of Alternative
Agricultural Approaches: In Quest of a Regenerative and Just
Agriculture," in New Directions for Agriculture and Agricultural
Research: Neglected Dimensions and Emerging Alternatives, Kenneth A.
Dahlberg, (ed.), Rowman & Allanheld, Totova, New Jersey.

Considers the possibility of evolving a set of values capable of
promoting a sustainable (regenerative) agriculture. Seeks to clarify
the ethical and value issues and choices which must be considered in the
selection of national agricultural research goals.

As a working definition, uses "alternative approaches to agriculture" to
mean -- "the multitude of significant efforts evolving across this
nation, as well as internationally, which seek to reduce, either
completely or partially,, dependence upon petro-chemicals (a depleting
and non-renewable resource); to reduce the negative environmental impact
of current approaches; and to promote a freedom from the fear about
family, rural community, and financial stress which is so much a part of
U.S. agriculture, and world agriculture, today."

Points out that the idea of a regenerative and just agriculture is not a
throw-back to some kind of a counter-cultural or utopian "Walden Pond"
mentality, but an idea consistent with emerging scientific and ethical
understandings of our ecological, technological, and social worlds.
Stresses the need for an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving
within an ecological framework. The challenge is for humans to maintain
the integrity of the biotic community while maintaining the productivity
of the resource base for agriculture itself.


Gebhardt, Maurice R., et al. 1985. "Conservation Tillage," in Science, vol.
230, no. 4726, 8 November.

Notes potential trade-off between sediment reduction and contaminants
from fertilizers and pesticides.


Gliessman, Stephen R. 1985. "Economic and Ecological Factors in Designing
and Managing Sustainable Agroecosystems," in Sustainable Agriculture and
Integrated Farming Systems, Thomas C. Edens, Cynthia Fridgen, and Susan
L. Battenfield, (eds.), Michigan State University Press, East Lansing.

Stresses lessons to be learned from "traditional" farmers, such as
multiple cropping or polyculture plantings. Advantages: higher yields,
net gain in nitrogen, reduced pest damage and lower cost of pest
control. Weeds are often at a disadvantage in polycultures, and
intercropping often suppresses weed growth. When herbicides are not
used, it is important to either minimize the space between crop plants
or else occupy that space with a plant (crop or non-crop) that will not
interfere with crop development.









Hallberg, George R. 1986. "From Hoes to Herbicides-Agriculture and
Groundwater Quality," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 41:6,
Nov.-Dec.

Many agricultural water quality problems are the result of
inefficiencies in chemical use. Agricultural chemical contaminants in
groundwater of foremost concern are nitrates and pesticides.

Re: nitrates, the focus of attention with respect to groundwater must be
nitrogen fertilizer since it is the greatest nitrogen input, the most
controllable input, and the one farmers pay for. Estimates that only
about 20% of the nitrogen needed could be supplied naturally even under
BMPs.

Compared with nitrogen, pesticide losses in groundwater and surface
waters are quite low, usually less than 5% (about the same amount of
active ingredient that actually reaches target pests), i.e. there is no
clear economic incentive to reduce inputs.

There is legitimate concern about the effects of conservation tillage.
In reducing run-off many studies show that infiltration and leaching of
chemicals into groundwater may increase.


Harmon, V.L., et al. 1985. "No-Till Technology: Impacts on Farm Income,
Energy Use and Groundwater Depletion in the Plains," Western Journal of
Agricultural Economics, vol. 10 (1), July.

Abstract: Rapidly rising fuel costs for irrigation and tillage,
combined with groundwater depletion, confront producers in the Great
Plains. Maintaining profits while production costs escalate and water
levels decline emphasizes the need to increase water and energy use
efficiency. A linear programming analysis for a ten-year period
comparing conventional tillage practices with no-till practices based on
an irrigated wheat/no-till feedgrain/fallow crop rotation indicates no-
till increases both water and energy use efficiency. Returns to land,
management0 and risks are substantially higher using no-till practices.

Weed control with no-till is accomplished through application of twice
the amount of herbicides applied under conventional tillage.
V

Harvood, Richard R. 1984. "Organic Farming Research at the Rodale Research
Center," organic Farming: Current Technology and Its Role in a
Sustainable Agriculture, ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin.

Notes the decline in yields during the process of conversion from
conventional to organic practices -- it takes 3-5 years to obtain yield
potential with organic culture commensurate with that of conventional
practice.'

Gives the cost comparison between an organic operation and the average
costs for Pennsylvania using the same market price for corn.









Helmers, Glenn A., Michael R. Langemeier, and Joseph Atwood. 1986. "An
Economic Analysis of Alternative Cropping Systems for East-central
Nebraska," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, vol. 1, no. 4,
Fall.

In this study of 13 cropping systems analyzed with respect to
profitability and risk, row crop rotations had substantially higher
returns than continuously grown row crops. Except in comparison to
continuous soybeans, all rotation alternatives had returns that were
less variable than those of a continuous crop.

Although the study did not address concerns over macro adjustments
resulting from wider acceptance of regenerative agriculture, in the
authors' opinion it is economically viable.


Koepf, Herbert H. 1985. "Integrating Animals into a Production System," in
Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Farming Systems, Thomas C. Edens,
Cynthia Fridgen, and Susan L. Battenfield, (eds.), Michigan State
University Press, East Lansing.

Argues that decentralized, farm-based, animal husbandry is necessary for
lasting soil fertility for small and large farms. "Accumulated" or
"medium-term" fertility is crucial, i.e. the combined carryover effects
of mutually interdependent plant and animal production -- shows changes
in 5-10 year intervals and similar periods of time are needed to exhaust
it.

Re: nitrate contamination of groundwater -- caused by intensive farming
and not by the manure heap. Properly applied manure and composted
manure will reduce nitrate leaching (Koepf 1973).


Koskinen, Villiam C., and Chester G. McWhorfer. 1986. "Veed Control in
Conservation Tillage," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 41,
no. 6, Nov.-Dec.

The acceptance of conservation tillage by producers depends on the
availability of herbicides that provide suitable weed control. Crop
residues may significantly alter herbicide performance, especially over
a period of several years and cause ecological shifts that introduce new
weeds and ultimately make weed control more difficult and expensive.
Troublesome weeds can be controlled, but new problems require a higher
level of management for profitable row-crop production.

Fuel and labor costs are usually less with CT, but savings are sometimes
offset by increased herbicide costs.

CT has the potential for increased groundwater contamination compared
with conventional tillage because of increased soil moisture and
increased infiltration rates (which can result in greater leaching of
solutes).









Lasley, Paul and Gordon Bultena. 1986. "Farmers' Opinions About Third-wave
Technologies," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, vol. 1, no.
3, Summer.

Recent data gathered from Iowa farmers provide evidence of growing
support for alternative agricultural methods, i.e. many are concerned
about environmental problems resulting from current farm practices, are
supportive of boosting research on organic farming methods, and feel
strongly that agricultural diversification is needed.


Little, Charles E. 1987. Green Fields Forever, The Conservation Tillage
Revolution in America, Island Press, Washington, D.C.

From Chapter 7, pp. 99-122, "Beyond the Mongongo Tree" (on the
environmental implications of conservation tillage):

"The ecological principle of conservation tillage would be to capitalize
on, rather than eliminate the natural properties of the soil, which, if
'conserved', can be beneficial in growing crops: structural integrity,
porosity, tilth, fertility, and resistance to infestations of pests and
diseases."

Little defines conservation tillage (CT) as a practice which reduces
erosion and agricultural run-off by leaving [crop] residues on the
surface of the ground.

He concludes that the trade-off of herbicides for reduced erosion and
run-off is considered a good one, in terms of environmental quality, by
most farmers, university ag.. experts, and USDA.

Two issues -- nonpoint source pollution and erosion.

Re: erosion -- there are economic benefits to CT -- cites Edwin H.
Clark, Conservation Foundation, estimates that cropland erosion costs
$2.2 billion per year.

Re: effects of CT on nonpoint source pollution -- cites an EPA-funded
study of the Lake Erie drainage basin which showed that adoption of CT
practices could significantly reduce phosphorus run-off, and that the
environmental trade-off would be a good one, ie.- phosphorus delivery
from run-off could be reduced by 2 Ibs/acre with only slightly higher
levels of herbicide required to control weed growth in corn and soybean
fields compared with conservation tillage.

Cites Maureen Hinkle, Audobon -- agrees that erosion could be abated
through CT, but concerned about the possibility of substantial increase
of the "pesticide load" -- residue on the surface tends to reduce run-
off of chemicals to a lesser degree than run-off of silt, since many
chemicals are water soluble; and pesticides not running off get into
groundwater.

Cites Donna Fletcher, EPA task force on appearance of new herbicides in
groundwater -- not just a matter of pounds, but the staggering number of









reactive combinations these chemicals make with the soil and with each
other in terms of toxicity for humans

Cites David Schertz, SCS -- notion that CT increases pesticide use is a
fallacy -- there is an increase in early years, but year-by-year the
weed problem gets less and less (in part because weed seeds are no
longer turned up by plowing).

Improvements in techniques can also reduce herbicide use, e.g. ridge
till.

Cites Robert Papendick, Washington State -- No-till is not necessarily
tied to increased use of pesticides; that may be the fact today, but it
need not be tomorrow; working on rotations involving new cover crops to
control pests.

Cites Barney Volak, Rodale Research Center, Kutztown, PA -- they are
testing alternatives to herbicides in CT, eg. crop rotations, biological
predator controls, crop competition to control weeds, etc.


Lockeretz, William and Patrick Madden. 1987. "Midwestern Organic Farming: A
Ten-year Follow-up," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, vol.
II, no. 2, Spring.

Abstract. A survey was mailed to 174 Midwestern organic farmers
originally studied in 1977. We obtained information on 133 of this
group, 96 of whom are still farming at the same location, although 12 no
longer use organic methods. Fifty-eight currently active farmers
returned a detailed questionnaire that covered their perceptions of the
advantages and disadvantages of organic farming, some of their
practices, and their financial status. Most farmers who employed
organic farming methods stated they did so out of concern for the health
of themselves, their families, and their livestock. Compared to ten
years ago, philosophical or religious considerations were frequently
mentioned as an advantage of organic farming. In contrast, some
agronomic and management disadvantages of organic farming were mentioned
more often. The farmers now are more tolerant, in principle, of some
chemicals not generally accepted in organic farming, but regular use of
soluble fertilizers and synthetic pesticides has not increased
appreciably. The farmers reported little change in the institutional
and social environment for organic agriculture, including available
markets, information sources, and the attitudes of their neighbors.


Lockeretz, V., et al. 1976. "Organic and Conventional Crop Production in
the Corn Belt: A Comparison of Economic Performance and Energy Use for
Selected Farms," Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Washington
University, St. Louis.

This was a five-year study of organic farming begun in 1974. Per Madden
(1987) 8 of the original 16 farmers who were contacted in 1986 were
still farming, 7 organically and 1 using the full spectrum of chemicals.









Madden, Patrick. 1987. "Can Sustainable Agriculture be Profitable?",
Environment, vol. 29, no. 4, May.

Alternative agricultural farming styles include -- organic,
regenerative, biodynamic, natural, biological, and ecological. Uses
'sustainable' and 'regenerative' synonymously.

Regenerative -- farming systems in which an abundance of safe and
nutritious food and fiber is produced using farming methods that are
ecologically harmless, sustainable, and profitable. Following a
transitional phase, chemical insecticides are replaced by reliance on
natural biological controls to the maximum extent feasible; renewable
sources of soil nutrients are largely or totally substituted for
chemical fertilizers. Differs from the USDA 1980 definition of
"organic" by adding recognition of the importance of profitability.

Methods of conservation tillage relying on routine applications of
herbicides would not qualify as regenerative.

Draws on two studies:

Washington University, St. Louis, 1974-86, Lockeretz et al, Corn Belt
Seven of the 8 remaining farmers (of the original 16 studied) are still
farming organically. Those who have prospered since 1974 were
considered at the time of the study to be the most capable managers.

Penn State, Univ. Park, 1981-86, Madden, with Rodale


Conclusions:

1. Farmers who produce fresh fruits and vegetables organically usually
(but not universally) incur higher costs per unit of output and
must charge higher prices (eg. garlic producer who pays more for
labor to control weeds than he would pay for herbicides)

2. Not all organic/regenerative farmers rely on premium prices (gives
examples, eg. an 800-acre nonirrigated wheat farm in Washington,
and a 32-cow dairy farm in Pennsylvania where the net farm income
is double the average of comparable DHIA farms due primarily to
reduced input costs)

3. Three characteristics of successful regenerative farms are superb
management; complete knowledge of the farm and what's grown; and a
reverence for life that motivates them to find safe and harmless
ways to produce food.

4. In organic farming --
a. the yield sacrifice is frequently offset by cost reductions
b. management is more challenging









Olson, Kent D., James Langley, and Earl 0. Heady. 1982. "Widespread
Adoption of Organic Farming Practices: Estimated Impacts on U.S.
Agriculture," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 37, no. 1,
January-February.

According to a national, interregional linear programming model, wide-
spread adoption of organic farming methods in the United States would
increase national net farm income and satisfy domestic demand for
agricultural products. However, consumer food costs would increase,
export levels would decline, regional shifts in production would occur,
and the large reserve of potential crop production would disappear.


Papendick, Robert I., Lloyd F. Elliott, and Robert B. Dahlgren. 1986.
"Environmental Consequences of Modern Production Agriculture: How Can
Alternative Agriculture Address These Concerns?" American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture, vol. 1, no. 1, Vinter.

Alternative farming practices, in most cases, will reduce soil loss
below the soil loss tolerance value (through cultural practices, such as
crop rotation and mulch tillage). Reduced or non-use of manufactured
chemicals greatly reduces environmental hazards.


Risch, Stephen J. 1983. "Alternatives to Pesticides: Impediments to Faster
Development and Implementation," in Agr..culture, Change, and Human
Values, R. Haynes and R. Lanier (eds.), University of Florida,
Gainesville, vol. 2.

.Explores three different issues: (1) the cost-effectiveness of
alternative pest control strategies versus chemical techniques, (2) the
impact of political economy on research and development of pest control
techniques, and (3) the impact of social structure and philosophical
framework on the implementation of pest control technologies.

The author concludes that while alternatives to chemicals have been
shown to be cost-effective and to yield few environmental and social
externalities, he agrees that some pest problems, at least in the short
run, must be handled with chemical pesticides. .But Risch points out
that the number and nature of the cases that are inherently not amenable
to alternative solutions cannot be known due to institutional
constraints on research and development and implementation.


Thomas, Grant V. 1985. "Environmental Significance of Minimum Tillage,"
invited paper, Agricultural Chemicals of the Future symposium May 16-19,
1983, Beltsville, Maryland, Rowman and Allanheld: Totowa, New Jersey.

Abstract: Conservation tillage reduces erosion and conserves some water
usually lost by evaporation. Its effect on runoff is variable, but at
least there is no more runoff, on the average. More herbicides are used
as tillage is reduced, but most of these are bound on soil particles.
If erosion is reduced, then herbicide loss is reduced as well. The same
is true for phosphorus and for total nitrogen, but not for inorganic
nitrogen. Nitrate suffers a perceptibly greater loss with reduced









tillage, especially through leaching in late spring-early summer.
Placement of fertilizers near the soil surface, as with no-tillage, can
result in higher concentrations of nutrients in sediments, but sediment
losses are reduced so much that the effect is not important. An
additional environmental advantage of reduced tillage is the marginal
energy savings, which is important on a farm but not a national level.
An environmental disadvantage is the fostering of resistant weed
species, which require more exotic herbicides to combat them.


U.S. Congress. 1983. Appropriate Technology: Research in Alternative
Agriculture Systems, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Natural
Resources, Agriculture Research and the Environment of the House
Committee on Science and Technology, September 30, 1982, 97th Congress,
2nd session, USGPO Washington, D.C., No. 162.

Testimony by Dr. Richard Harwood of Rodale Research Center --

Looking at whole farms and whole farming systems, there are 30-40,000
farmers in the U.S. who call themselves "organic" (using the broad USDA
definition), who are minimizing inputs.

Mentions collaborative study with Penn State [see Madden 1987] --
demographically these organic farms have approximately :he same size and
the same variability in types of enterprise as agriculture in general.
There are 2,000-acre organic farms and 50-acre organic farms. On the
West Coast they tend to be non-livestock, specialty crop-oriented while
in the Midwest to northeast they tend toward integrated crop-livestock.
But they are characteristically management intensive (illustrated by the
difference between IPM, which requires careful monitoring, and weekly
spraying according to a formula).

Economically --

a. management, labor and perhaps machinery costs are somewhat higher,
but the cash input costs are considerably lower;

b. total cost of production is somewhat lower

c. yields vary from about the same [as conventional] to some 10% less,
but there are also individual examples where yields are as much as
20-30% above those of neighboring farms.

The most significant characteristic [of organic farms] is the drastic
reduction in inputs which comes about by structuring the farm to get
particular kinds of interactions (e.g., certain crop combinations in
well-defined, scheduled rotations).

Re: the transition to organic farming -- when you stop using intensive
inputs on a field with a long-term history of conventional use, the
stoppage is extremely disruptive; it takes 3-5 years to restore a field
after heavy use of conventional fertilizers and pesticides.









U.S. Congress. 1982. Organic Farming Act of 1982, Hearing Before the
Subcommittee on Forests, Family Farms, and Energy of the House Committee
on Agriculture, June 10, 1982, 97th Congress, 2nd session on H.R. 5618,
U.S. GPO, Washington, D.C.

H.R. 5618 -- bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a
network of volunteers to assist in making available information and
advice on organic agriculture for family farms and other agricultural
enterprises, and to establish pilot projects to carry out research and
education activities involving organic farming, with special emphasis on
family farms.

Per USDA's report on organic agriculture (1980): major problems
confronting farmers and our agriculture system include -- (1) increasing
costs and uncertain availability of energy and chemical fertilizers; (2)
excessive soil erosion, loss of soil, organic matter, and a resultant
decline in soil production and tilth; (3) degradation of the
environment, including hazards to human and animal health from heavy
pesticide use; (4) demise of the family farm and localized marketing
systems. Indications are that even a partial shift to low-energy
agricultural systems, including the use of more organic farming
techniques, would alleviate many of these problems. 4

Per Dr. Terry B. Kinney, ARS, USDA studies relating to the economic and
marketing aspects of organic farming show --

lower production costs

although the legume-based crop rotations on most organic farms do
reduce acreage available for cash crops (eg. corn and soybeans) the
net farm income is quite often comparable to the net income of
conventional farms

# soil erosion benefits through use of grass, legume and small grain
crops in rotation systems

emphasis on tillage methods that keep crop residues and organic
matter near the soil surface, which helps reduce erosion, opening up
the soil to infiltration

Organic agriculture contributes to reductions in soil erosion, plant
nutrient and pesticide run-off, and the leaching of these materials
into groundwater

organic soil fertility management through the use of animal and
green manures, cover crops, crop rotations, etc. results in less
susceptibility to loss through run-off than other fertilizer methods

re: uncertainty of petroleum supplies -- largely self-sustaining
nutrient recycling systems typical of organic agriculture enhance
long-term sustainability of the system

major obstacles to widespread adoption of organic farming methods
revolve around the issue of farm policy and structure, and the
financial and entrepreneurial situations of individual farmers










Rep. Daschle -- research emphasis has been on conventional farming

Kinney -- in FY 82 funding for research related to organic farming was under
$1 million. USDA has a couple hundred scientists in the chemical field;
one person half-time (Youngberg) answering inquiries into organic
farming.

Garth Youngberg (then USDA organic farming coordinator) on conclusions drawn
in USDA 1980 report on organic farming:

Organic farming can be practiced on a relatively large-scale farm
(i.e. 600-800 acres)

#- modern organic farming is quite different from the agricultural
system of the 1920s and 30s; it is not a regression to an earlier or
A more primitive form of agriculture

+A there is a wide spectrum of practices and ideologies within
"organic" agriculture (some 30,000 to 40,000 farms in the U.S.); not
A all organic farmers are 'purists'

Per Youngberg, organic farming is a total system, involving crop
rotations, fertility, and a total management approach -- stresses the
lack of information (e.g. Extension Service materials) on organic
practices

Congressman Weaver, chairman of the subcommittee -- stresses that it is not
and should not be a fight, chemical vs. organic -- the emphasis should
be on techniques that work. Notes the lack of commercial sponsorship
for organic farming techniques.

Daniel Colacicco, ERS economist -- with increase in organic farming most of
the nitrogen would have to come from legumes due to the unavailability
of organic wastes; less capital is required for organic agriculture

Papendick, as chair of the USDA Study Team (1980) his main responsibility was
to look at the impact of organic farming on erosion control and
environmental pollution. Found good soil erosion control resulting in
reduced sediment and pesticide run-off. Also found that organic farming
is conservative in the use of chemical fertilizers and that the kinds of
materials used are less subject to leaching.

Re: conservation tillage -- given present technologies, no-till is not
an option for organic farmers since it requires more pesticides to
control weeds, insects, and even diseases.











RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE

DISCUSSION PAPERS

August 1989
The following RFF discussion papers are currently in print. The cost of
each is indicated. Prepayment is required for discussion papers for which
there is a charge. Checks should be made out to Resources for the Future.
Orders should be addressed to Publications and Communication, Resources for
the Future, 1616 P Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.



ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION

ENR88-01 ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE: A REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF THE LITERATURE.
Pierre Crosson and Janet Ekey (1988) $5.00

ENR88-02 WATER RESOURCES: STATUS, TRENDS, AND POLICY NEEDS. Kenneth D. Frederick
(1988) $5.00

ENR88-03 IMPROVING PERFORMANCE OF WHOLESALE ELECTRIC GENERATION MARKETS. Michael A.
Toman and Joel Darmstadter (1988) $5.00

ENR88-04 ANALYZING U.S. OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION: A JOINT-PRODUCTS RATIONAL
EXPECTATIONS FRAMEWORK. Margaret A. Walls (1988) $5.00

ENR89-01 CHANGES IN ELECTRICITY MARKETS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR GENERATION
TECHNOLOGIES. Hadi Dowlatabadi and Michael Toman (1989) $5.00

ENR89-02 MANAGEMENT OF WATERSHEDS FOR AUGMENTED WATER YIELDS--PLUMAS NATIONAL
FOREST. John V. Krutilla, Michael Bowes, and Thomas B. Stockton (1989) $5.00

ENR89-03 TEMPORAL AGGREGATION IN FORPLAN LINEAR PROGRAMS. Michael D. Bowes (1989) $5.00

ENR89-04 LAUNCH VOUCHERS FOR SPACE SCIENCE RESEARCH. Molly K. Macauley (1989) $5.00

ENR89-05 POLICY OPTIONS FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE. Norman J. Rosenberg,
Pierre Crosson, William E. Easterling III, Kennneth Frederick, and Roger
Sedjo (1989) $5.00

ENR89-06 WILL NUCLEAR POWER RECOVER IN A GREENHOUSE? John F. Ahearne (1989) $5.00

ENR89-07 ETHANOL FUEL AND NON-MARKET BENEFITS: IS A SUBSIDY JUSTIFIED? Margaret A.
Walls, Alan J. Krupnick, and Michael A. Toman (1989) $5.00


Energy and Materials


D-082I A NONCOOPERATIVE EQUILIBRIUM FOR STATE DEPENDENT SUPERGAMES. Michael A.
Toman (Rev. 1986) $5.00

D-082S WHAT CAUSES OIL PRICE SHOCKS? Douglas R. Bohi (1983) $5.00










D-082V GEOGRAPHIC VARIATION IN FUEL FLEXIBILITY: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE REGIONAL
INCIDENCE OF OIL SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS. Molly K. Macauley (1984) $5.00

D-110 ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF NONRENEWABLE RESOURCE SUPPLY: AN OVERVIEW. Michael
A. Toman (Rev. 1985) $5.00

D-113 COMMON PROPERTY RESOURCE EXTERNALITIES AND ENTRY DETERRENCE. Michael A.
Toman (1983) $5.00

EM85-01 THE SITE VALUE OF LOCATIONS IN THE GEOSTATIONARY ARC. Molly K. Macauley
(1985) $5.00

EM85-02 THE WELFARE COST OF REGULATORY POLICY GOVERNING THE GEOSTATIONARY ARC.
Molly K. Macauley (1985) $5.00

EM85-03 IMPLEMENTING AN AUCTION: STEPS TOWARD IMPROVED ALLOCATION OF THE
GEOSTATIONARY ARC. Molly K. Macauley (1985) $5.00

EM86-01 OUT OF SPACE? REGULATION AND TECHNICAL CHANGE IN COMMUNICATIONS
SATELLITES. Molly K. Macauley (1986) $5.00

EM86-04 AN ECONOMICS PERSPECTIVE OF THE 21st CENTURY SPACE STATION. Molly K.
Macauley (1986) $5.00

EM86-05 (REV.) DESIGNING RATES FOR NEW CONDITIONS IN GAS DISTRIBUTION MARKETS.
Michael A. Toman (1989) $5.00

EM87-01 THE TRANSITION TO COMMERCIAL ENERGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A CASE STUDY
OF HOUSEHOLDS IN INDIAN CITIES. Molly K. Macauley (1987) $5.00

EM87-02 (REV.) MARKET-BASED REGULATION OF NATURAL GAS PIPELINES. Dan Alger and
Michael A. Toman (1988) $5.00

EM87-03 PETROLEUM SUPPLY MODELING IN A DYNAMIC OPTIMIZATION FRAMEWORK:
FORECASTING THE EFFECTS OF THE 1986 OIL PRICE DECLINE. Margaret A. Walls
(1987) $5.00

EM87-04 A COMPARISON OF NUCLEAR POWER REGULATION IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES.
John F. Ahearne (1987) $5.00

EM87-05 HOW NATURAL IS MONOPOLY? The Case of Bypass in Natural Gas Distribution
Markets. Harry G. Broadman and Joseph P. Kalt (1987) $5.00

EM88-01 FEDERAL COAL LEASING: AN ANALYSIS OF THE ECONOMIC ISSUES. Richard L.
Gordon (1988) $5.00

EM88-02. WHY FEDERAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FAILS. John F. Ahearne (1988) $5.00

EM88-03 (REV.) DYNAMIC FIRM BEHAVIOR AND REGIONAL DEADWEIGHT LOSSES FROM A U.S.
OIL IMPORT FEE. Margaret A. Walls (1989) $5.00


Renewable Resources


D-096 DISCRETE TIME OPTIMAL CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR ANALYSIS OF LONG-RUN TIMBER
SUPPLY. Kenneth Lyon and Roger Sedjo (1982) Free


2










D-117 PROCEEDINGS OF A WORKSHOP ON FOREST POLICY EDUCATION sponsored by the
Forest Economics and Policy Program of Resources for the Future with the
Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and the Society of American Foresters
(1984) Free

RR85-04 SHELTER IN AMERICA: COSTS, SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS, AND THE ROLE OF FORESTS.
Marion Clawson (1985) $15.00

RR86-04 A PRIMER ON CLIMATIC CHANGE: MECHANISMS, TRENDS AND PROJECTIONS. Norman J.
Rosenberg (1986) $3.00
RR88-01 PUBLIC FORESTS IN NEW ZEALAND AND IN THE UNITED STATES. Marion Clawson
(1988) $3.00

RR88-02 WESTERN WATER ALLOCATION INSTITUTIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE. Kenneth D.
Frederick and Allen V. Kneese (1988) $3.00



QUALITY OF THE ENVIRONMENT DIVISION

QE87-02 PLANT-LEVEL PRODUCTIVITY 1972-81: MEASUREMENT USING A LARGE PANEL OF
MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS. Michael Hazilla and Raymond J. Kopp (1986) $2.25

QE87-03 ESTABLISHMENT-LEVEL DATA FOR ECONOMETRIC, ENGINEERING, AND POLICY ANALYSIS:
PHASE I. Michael Hazilla and Raymond J. Kopp (1987) $2.25

QE87-05 BENEFIT ESTIMATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: SETTING THE NAAQS FOR
PHOTOCHEMICAL OXIDANTS. Alan J. Krupnick (1986) $2.25

QE87-06 EVALUATING THE VALIDITY OF CONTINGENT VALUATION STUDIES. Robert C.
Mitchell and Richard T. Carson (1987) $2.25

QE87-07 HOW FAR ALONG THE LEARNING CURVE IS THE CONTINGENT VALUATION METHOD? Robert
C. Mitchell and Richard T. Carson (1987) $2.25

QE87-08 ON THE CHOICE OF FUNCTIONAL FORM FOR HEDONIC PRICE FUNCTIONS. Maureen L.
Cropper, Leland B. Deck, and Kenneth E. McConnell (1987) $2.25

QE87-09 USE OF TRIAZINE HERBICIDES IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION AND THE LOCAL FARM
INCOME CONSEQUENCES OF RESTRICTING THEIR USE. Leonard P. Gianessi, Raymond
J. Kopp, Peter Kuch, Cynthia Puffer, and Robert Torla (1987) $2.25

QE87-10 AGRICULTURAL POLICY AND THE BENEFITS OF OZONE CONTROL. Raymond J. Kopp and
Alan J. Krupnick (1987) $2.25

QE87-11 THE ALLEN-UZAWA ELASTICITIES OF SUBSTITUTION ARE DOMINATED BY THE MORISHIMA
ELASTICITIES: A THEORETICAL AND EMPIRICAL COMPARISON. R. Robert Russell,
Raymond J. Kopp, Michael Hazilla, and Charles Blackorby (1987) $2.25

QE87-12 REDUCING BAY NUTRIENTS: AN ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE. Alan J. Krupnick (1987) $2.25

QE88-02 ENFORCEMENT LEVERAGE WHEN PENALTIES ARE RESTRICTED. Winston Harrington
(1988) $2.25

QE88-04 ECONOMICS AND NUTRIENT REDUCTIONS IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. Alan J. Krupnick
(1988) $2.25

3











0E88-05 TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL CONTROL OF AMBIENT OZONE. Alan J. Krupnick (1988) $2.25

QE88-06 MOMENT-BASED TESTS FOR POISSON AND RELATED COUNT DATA MODELS. John Mullahy
(1988) $2.25

QE88-07 MOMENT-BASED TESTS FOR SELECTIVITY BIAS. John Mullahy (1988) $2.25

QE88-08 POLICIES FOR THE MITIGATION OF ACID RAIN: A CRITIQUE OF EVALUATION
TECHNIQUES. Hadi Dowlatabadi and Winston Harrington (1988) $2.25

QE88-09 ACID DEPOSITION: SCIENCE AND POLICY. Winston Harrington (1988) $2.25

QE88-10 THE HEALTH AND AGRICULTURAL BENEFITS OF REDUCTIONS IN AMBIENT OZONE IN THE
UNITED STATES. Alan J. Krupnick and Raymond J. Kopp (1988) $2.25

QE88-11 NATURAL RESOURCE ECONOMICS. Allen V. Kneese (1988) $2.25

QE88-12 ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS AND POLITICAL CONFLICTS: SALINITY IN THE COLORADO
RIVER. Allen V. Kneese (1988) $2.25

QE88-13 EFFICIENCY PROPERTIES OF SOURCE CONTROL POLICIES FOR AIR POLLUTION
CONTROL: AN EMPIRICAL APPLICATION TO THE LOWER DELAWARE VALLEY.
Walter 0. Spofford, Jr. (1988) $2.25

QE89-O1 AMBIENT OZONE AND ACUTE HEALTH EFFECTS: EVIDENCE FROM DAILY DATA. Alan J.
Krupnick, Winston Harrington, and Bart Ostro (1988) $2.25

QE89-02 MARKET SEGMENTATION AND VALUING AMENITIES WITH HEDONIC MODELS: THE CASE OF
HAZARDOUS WASTE SITES. R. Gregory Michaels and V. Kerry Smith (1988) $2.25

QE89-03 TRAVEL COST RECREATION DEMAND METHODS: THEORY AND IMPLEMENTATION. V. Kerry
Smith (1988) $2.25

QE89-04 VALUING ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES UNDER ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT REGIMES. A.
Myrick Freeman, III (1988) $2.25

QE89-05 SIGNALS OR NOISE? EXPLAINING THE VARIATION IN RECREATION BENEFIT
ESTIMATES. V. Kerry Smith and Yoshiaki Kaoru (1988) $2.25

QE89-06 ALCOHOLISM AND HUMAN CAPITAL. John Mullahy and Jody L. Sindelar (1989) $2.25

QE89-07 TRADABLE NUTRIENT PERMITS AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY COMPACT. Alan J. Krupnick
(1989) $2.25

QE89-08 VALUING INDIVIDUALS' CHANGES IN RISK: A GENERAL TREATMENT. A. Myrick
Freeman (1989) $2.25

QE89-09 BENEFIT ESTIMATION GOES TO COURT: THE CASE OF NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE
ASSESSMENTS. Raymond J. Kopp and V. Kerry Smith (1989) $2.25

QE89-10 MOMENT-BASED ESTIMATION AND TESTING OF STOCHASTIC FRONTIER MODELS. Raymond
J. Kopp and John Mullahy (1989) $2.25

QE89-11 THE SOCIAL COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REGULATIONS: A GENERAL EQUILIBRIUM
ANALYSIS. Michael Hazilla and Raymond J. Kopp (1989) $2.25










QE89-12 PUBLIC CHOICES AND PRIVATE RISKS: THE ROLE OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS. V. Kerry
Smith (1989) $2.25

QE89-13 BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS OF POLICIES TOWARD RISK. A. Myrick Freeman III
(1989) $2.25

QE89-14 MEASURING WELFARE VALUES OF PRODUCTIVITY CHANGES. A. Myrick Freeman III
and Winston Harrington (1989) $2.25

QE89-15 UNCERTAINTIES IN ESTIMATES OF THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF GROUNDWATER
REMEDIATION: RESULTS OF A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS. Walter 0. Spofford, Jr.,
Alan J. Krupnick, and Eric F. Wood (1989) $2.25

QE89-16 THE SOCIAL COSTS OF CHRONIC HEART AND LUNG DISEASE. Maureen L. Cropper and
Alan J. Krupnick (1989) $2.25

QE89-17 THE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF AGRICULTURAL CHEMICAL REGULATION: THE CASE OF
PHENOXY HERBICIDES AND WHEAT. Leonard P. Gianessi, Raymond J. Kopp, and
Cynthia A. Puffer (1989) $2.25

QE89-18 NOTES ON SYSTEMS OF FRONTIER FACTOR DEMAND EQUATIONS. Raymond J. Kopp and
John Mullahy (1989) $2.25

QE89-19 WEIGHTED LEAST SQUARES ESTIMATION OF THE LINEAR PROBABILITY MODEL,
REVISITED. John Mullahy (1989) $2.25

QE89-20 THE EFFECTS OF UNCERTAINTY ON POLICY INSTRUMENTS: THE CASE OF ELECTRICITY
SUPPLY AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS. Hadi Dowlatabadi and Winston
Harrington (1989) $2.25



THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL POLICY

RR87-01 AGRICULTURAL TRADE MODEL COMPARISON: A LOOK AT AGRICULTURAL MARKETS IN THE
YEAR 2000 WITH AND WITHOUT TRADE LIBERALIZATION. Rachel Nugent Sarko
(1986) $5.00

RR87-02 MEASURING THE COMPONENTS OF AGGREGATE PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH IN U.S.
AGRICULTURE. Susan M. Capalbo (1986) $3.00

FAP87-02 PROMOTING INCREASED EFFICIENCY OF FEDERAL WATER USE THROUGH VOLUNTARY WATER
TRANSFER. Richard W. Wahl (1987) $3.00

FAP88-02 HARMONIZING HEALTH AND SANITARY STANDARDS IN THE GATT: PROPOSALS AND
ISSUES. Carol S. Kramer (1988) $3.00

FAP89-01 REFLECTIONS FROM THE PAST, CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE: AN EXAMINATION OF
U.S. AGRICULTURAL POLICY GOALS. Kristen Allen (1988) $3.00

FAP89-02 A MARKET ALTERNATIVE TO FARM PRICE SUPPORT PROGRAMS: FULL PARTICIPATION
MARKETS IN CONTRACTS FOR FUTURE DELIVERY. James D. Shaffer (1989) $3.00

FAP89-03 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND AGRICULTURAL SUPPORT: ARE TRADE-OFFS
NECESSARY? Katherine Reichelderfer (1989) $3.00










FAP89-04 THE CONSUMER'S STAKE IN FOOD POLICY: THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN
COMMUNITY. Carol S. Kramer and Barbara J. Elliott (1989) $3.00


FAP89-05 TEN TRUTHS ABOUT SUPPLY CONTROL. Thomas W. Hertel (1989) $3.00

CENTER FOR RISK MANAGEMENT

CRM 88-01 REGULATION AND RISK ANALYSIS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION ROUTES.
John C. Allen and Theodore S. Glickman (1988) Free

CRM 88-02 AIR POLLUTION, CIGARETTE SMOKING, AND THE PRODUCTION OF RESPIRATORY HEALTH.
John Mullahy and Paul R. Portney (Revised 1989) Free

CRM 89-01 ESTIMATING "ENVIRONMENTAL" CARCINOGENESIS: A COMPARISON OF DIVERGENT
APPROACHES. Michael Gough (1988) Free

CRM 89-02 URBAN AIR QUALITY AND CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASE. Paul R. Portney and
John Mullahy (1988) Free

CRM 89-03 THE NET BENEFITS OF INCENTIVE-BASED REGULATION: THE CASE OF ENVIRONMENTAL
STANDARD-SETTING IN THE REAL WORLD. Wallace E. Oates, Paul R. Portney and
Albert M. McGartland (1988) Free

CRM 89-04 PROTECTIVE ACTION DECISION-MAKING IN TOXIC VAPOR CLOUD EMERGENCIES.
Theodore S. Glickman and Alyce M. Ujihara. (1988) Free

CRM 89-05 ECONOMICS AND THE RATIONAL MANAGEMENT OF RISK. A. Myrick Freeman III and
Paul R. Portney (1989) Free

CRM 89-06 FLAMMABLE LIQUID TRANSPORTATION RISKS: A CASE STUDY OF TANK TRUCKS ON URBAN
ROADS. Theodore S. Glickman (1989) Free




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