Andy Hale lives in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Ph.D. from Arid Lands Resource Sciences in 2011 and now works with local communities and former rebel soldiers to build a sustainable food security and reintegration model through hands on agricultural production and infrastructure development. He is the Country Director, DRC of The Norman Bourlag Institute for International Agriculture. The institute's goal is to employ agricultural science to feed the world’s hungry and to support equity, economic growth, quality of life and mutual respect among peoples. His work is funded by US Department of State. The kids are from one of the villages he works with.
Thesis Title: Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Effects on Water Use in Agricultural Production: A Positive Mathematical Programming Approach
Author: Andy Hale
Agricultural production is affected by a range of policy and climatic variables. This research explored the impacts of cap and trade, climate change and agricultural policy scenarios on water resource use and allocation in agricultural production. The research is organized into three separate studies, one for each set of scenarios.
The first study focused on cap and trade policy for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, combining cost of production estimates with output price projections to determine the overall economic impact of cap and trade legislation, as well as its impact on agricultural water consumption. Price projections that included carbon offsets were higher than projections that did not, due to land being taken out of production and prices being bid up. HR2454 will increase production costs, particularly energy intensive inputs. Output prices increase as producers reduce production in response to cost increases. If agricultural offsets are allowed, output prices will be bid up further. Offsets allow producers to receive payments for cutting emissions. Taking land out of production and tree planting are the most likely way for farmers to earn offsets. In this case, incomes increased for producers due to indirect price effects. Since water is quantity limited, total water use is unchanged.
The next study looked at the physical impacts of climate change on production, particularly rising temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations. By analyzing the anticipated yield effects, it was found that overall net incomes would decrease and the water constraint would remain binding – meaning total water use is unchanged.
The third paper analyzed the effects of agricultural policy on land and water resource allocation. Cotton is directly subsidized. Corn and grain sorghum are subsidized indirectly through ethanol subsidies. Sugar cane prices are artificially high due to tariff rate quotas on sugar imports. Removal of any of these interventions decreased net profits to producers, but water use remains unchanged. Removing all farm programs, however, significantly decreases acres under cultivation, and reduces water use below the water constraint.
These papers collectively show how net income, as well as land and water resource allocation, is affected by changes in the agro-climatic and agricultural policy landscape. The demonstrate that because water is quantity-limited, only scenarios which shift the demand curve significantly to the left begin to curb agricultural water use.