Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Wallace E. Tyner

Committee Chair

Wallace E. Tyner

Committee Member 1

Juan Sesmero

Committee Member 2

Steven Wu

Committee Member 3

Phillip Owens


The focus of this dissertation is the environmental tradeoffs of stover removal within the Corn Belt. The environmental tradeoffs considered are mainly concerned with managing soil erosion and soil quality. The analysis layers soil characteristics, management strategies and per acre costs using an integrated RUSLE2/WEPS model and an economic optimization model to illuminate a lower bound supply response. Different assumptions were tested in regards to sustainability, prices, and market integration for five states and 18,760 soil types throughout the Corn Belt. Sustainability was defined to limit soil erosion from wind and water to 5 tons/acre/year and the soil organic matter metric (SCI) to be positive. The results of the modeling exercise show how different costs for erosion, biomass and conservation management will affect outcomes at the farm level under different scenarios. This analysis considers how prices for stover and incentives for management practices through different price regimes could change the outcomes for different biorefinery locations. The integration of farms into a single market place additionally considered the tradeoffs of the heterogeneous farmers and transportation costs in how this market would operate efficiently and regionally.