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Cropping pattern choice with proximity to ethanol production and animal feeding operations

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Abstract

Growing demand for corn due to the expansion of corn ethanol production has increased concerns that corn demand will be met by growing corn more intensively and shifting cropland from cropping systems with lower environmental impact into continuous corn (CC). Cropping system choice may also be influenced by the advantage of the high nutrient uptake of CC, which allows higher manure application rates and lowers manure management costs. A binary logistic regression model is used to estimate the probability of crop rotation choice as a function of proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and ethanol plants during 2004/2005 and 2006/2007 in the Des Moines Lobe region of Iowa. The probability of CC is found to be elevated in the vicinity of large hog operations as well as in a larger area around ethanol plants. The probability of CC around hog-feeding operations decreases rapidly with distance away from the facility, but the large number of hog facilities in the region results in a large cumulative influence. Understanding the multiple motivations for cropping system choices is vital to forming effective agricultural policy. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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