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Characterizing Uncertainties in the Crop Switching Decision Problem for U.S. Agriculture

Presentation Date
Monday, December 13, 2021 at 10:10am
Convention Center - Room 206-207



Switching crops is one method through which farmers can adapt to a changing climate. As patterns of temperature and precipitation change heterogeneously across space, different regions may become more suitable for certain crops and farmers are likely to shift their crop production areas accordingly. However, for any individual farmer, the decision to switch crops is likely to be deeply uncertain and may present conflicting objectives. Previous studies analyzing the crop switching problem typically focus on a single outcome and few perform a detailed uncertainty analysis. Here, we develop a modeling framework to elucidate which uncertainties are most important for U.S. farmers in deciding to switch among six major crops. Uncertain factors include future climatological conditions, the future yield response of each crop, the future price of each crop, and the costs of switching. We quantify the relative importance of each uncertain factor, as well as their interactions, in determining future farm-level profit. We also highlight where trade-offs exist among conflicting objectives, including, for example, between maximizing the benefit/cost ratio and minimizing income volatility.

Global Environmental Change
Funding Program Area(s)