Motivations to grow energy crops: the role of crop and contract attributes

Madhu Khanna, Jordan Louviere, Xi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perennial energy crops are a promising source of bioenergy whose production involves production risks, long-term commitment of land and need for crop-specific investments without the coverage of crop insurance potentially available for conventional crops. We conduct a choice experiment in five states in the Midwestern and South-central regions of the U.S. to examine the effect of crop-contract attributes on the joint discrete-continuous choice decisions to adopt an energy crop and convert acres to it from a status quo use, while controlling for the effect of various farmers’ risk and time preferences, sociodemographic characteristics, and availability of crop insurance for conventional crops. We find robust evidence that high discount rates, high upfront establishment costs and need for crop-specific investments create disincentives for adoption and allocation of land to energy crop production. The effects of riskiness of returns and risk aversion are less robust across specifications. The effect of conventional crop insurance on the energy crop adoption decision differs across types of insurance; in particular, farmers with revenue insurance are statistically significantly less likely to adopt an energy crop. Our results have implications for the design of effective contracts and policy incentives to induce the production of energy crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-277
Number of pages15
JournalAgricultural Economics (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Choice experiment
  • Contract attributes
  • Crop insurance
  • Q42
  • Risk and time preferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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