Discussion: Needed Research with Respect to Energy Use in Agricultural Production

Milton L. Holloway
1977 Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics  
have made a beginning decisions to abandon irrigation in the Trans-Pecos in determining regional sensitivity of agricultural area of Texas. production to rising prices of energy. Although rising The authors correctly recognize that although prices and shortages of energy will have some effect agricultural production requires only about three on all of agriculture, we must know which enterprises percent of the nation's energy consumption, producand which areas of the nation will be most
more » ... ll be most affected. tion of agricultural commodities is likely to be very Prospects are that major shifts will occur in cropping sensitive to quantity restrictions or large price inpatterns, regional distribution of agricultural produccreases for energy. tion, irrigated acreages, farm incomes and land values; Comparisons of energy consumption in southern but these impacts will obviously not be equally agriculture among enterprises and relative to the distributed. nation is instructive and a step in the right direction The ability of technological innovations to proto a prescription of energy policy for agriculture. It is vide a profitable alternative to current fuel sources is unfortunate that attempts to estimate demand funclikely to be subject to large variations among entertions for different fuels in selected enterprises were prises and regions. Broiler production currently so not successful. In view of the inability to estimate dependent on natural gas or LP gas appears to be a demand functions, it is also surprising that the good prospect for solar energy applications. The long authors did not pay more attention to the need to term prospects for replacing diesel fuel for tractors collect and report energy data for agriculture. More and other mobile power units used intensively in row importantly, no mention is made of the adequacy or cropping, however, is not very promising. Regions inadequacy of research methods and techniques to relying mostly on natural gas for irrigation face either address the problems of energy in agriculture. the prospect of curtailments or rapidly rising prices. The authors otherwise discuss the important Texas irrigated agriculture is currently facing major research needs regarding rapidly rising energy prices adjustments and recent studies have indicated that and probably quantity restrictions. Their discussion significant changes will take place in irrigation levels, includes: (1) collection and reporting of data, irrigated acreages, cropping patterns, farm incomes, (2) determination of direct and indirect impacts of land values and perhaps a loss of some crop produchigh energy prices, (3) economically feasible options tion from Texas if the price of natural gas continues available to agricultural producers, (4) demand for to rise at recent rates [1, 2]. A major portion of different types of energy in various agricultural existing irrigation wells are powered by natural gas production enterprises, (5) supply of different types engines. Development of these units was based on 30¢ of energy, (6) manufacture of agricultural inputs, and and 40¢ natural gas; recently prices have risen rapidly (7) food processing and distribution energy demand.
doi:10.1017/s0081305200013431 fatcat:dewqubh46ndubfpytkckt5clbm