Food vs. Fuel: Kansas Farmers' Decisions to Grow Crops for Transport Fuels

This project seeks to improve the research infrastructure for examining farmers' decisions to grow crops as feedstocks for the production of transport fuels ("transport biofuel crops", e.g., corn-based ethanol). In particular, our research team will undertake a pilot project that examines decisions by Kansas farmers to grow transport biofuel crops over the period of years 2000 to 2008. Researchers will examine these decisions in two steps. First, we will establish the current cultivation of transport biofuel crops in 2008 in Kansas and the preceding trend of cultivation between 2000 and 2007. Second, we propose to identify the driving factors behind farming decisions using data gathered from a survey of and interviews with farmers. Our analysis examines both first-generation transport biofuels, such as cornbased ethanol, which represent traditional food/feed crops, and second-generation transport biofuels, such as switchgrass, which represent designated fuel crops.