Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor

Kent Kovacs

Committee Member

Konrad Hagedorn

Second Committee Member

Eric J. Wailes

Third Committee Member

Jennie S. Popp

Abstract

Genetically modified (GM) crops are crops in which single or multiple genes have been introduced artificially in order to obtain certain characteristics that are difficult to obtain through conventional breeding. Even though farmers have the right to freely choose what types of crops to grow, pollen mediated gene flow from GM crops to non-GM crops can limit the possibility for crops to coexist on a same landscape, resulting in economic losses that depend on the institutional arrangements and the type of property rights in place. Although it is well known that spatial variability affects the degree of cross-contamination between GM and non-GM crops, no spatial analysis has been carried out to investigate how heterogeneity of landscapes influences the possibility for GM and non-GM crops to coexist. We aim with this research to analyze how spatial variability affects land allocation between GM and non-GM corn crops through a model composed of two parts: the first one simulates spatial units based on landscape criteria through Voronoi diagrams, and the second one reallocates the land between buffers, the GM and the non-GM crop based on cross-contamination and initial assignment of property rights. The model identifies coexistence clusters based on the deviation from an initial land allocation. We show that increasing spatial variability reduces the possibility of acceptable coexistence of crops and increases the economic losses. The economic impact from the assignment of property rights depends on the parameters that drive profitability differences (average market prices, yields and production costs). We show that buffer zones enforced to reduce cross-contamination result in less coexistence in heterogeneous spatial situations. We also elicit the economic value of unobserved factors that create a competitive advantage for certain farmers necessary for alternative crops to coexist on the same landscape.

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