Straw Burning Economic Model for
the Sacramento Valley Air Basin-81



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Project Leader and Principal UC Investigators

B. Delworth Gardner, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, UC Davis


Objective of this research is to determine the economic effects of reduced reliance on open-field burning of rice straw.

An economic model of the valley's rice industry is being developed based on the 1980 crop year. It will estimate the changes in net incomes and cropping patterns which might occur if rice growers are faced with either higher costs for burning straw (e.g., a burn tax) or legal restrictions on the number of acres which can be burned. In either case, growers are faced with a choice of continuing to grow rice at a much higher cost per acre (because of a higher straw burning cost and/or a more costly method of straw disposal) or shifting some of their rice production to a more profitable crop, where feasible.

Substitute crops included in the model are alfalfa hay, barley, dry beans, field corn, milo, oats, pasture, safflower, sugarbeets, processing tomatoes, and wheat.

The acreage representing the rice growing region has been divided into farm groups (defined in terms of farm diversification) and soil groups (defined in terms of soil characteristics and capabilities and existing land use practices) in such a way as to represent typical conditions. Given a set of resource and institutional constraints on agricultural production, and under different ranges of prices, costs, and production inputs available, the model will estimate the direction and general magnitude of economic impacts on the rice industry. These results, in turn, can be used to estimate regional and statewide economic impacts which might result from these adjustments in production.


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