Friday, October 28, 2022

Modeling Farmers’ Adoption Potential to New Bioenergy Crops

Close on the heals of the last post on farming, we have a new paper co-authored with Kazi Masel entitled "Modelling Farmers’ Adoption Potential to New Bioenergy Crops: An Agent-based Approach" which was presented at the 2022 Computational Social Science Society of the Americas (CSS 2022) Annual Conference. In the paper we explore the potential of farmers to adopt carinata in the state of Georgia. Carinata in an oilseed crop which could be used as a sustainable aviation fuel. Through our agent-based model our results suggest that a viable contract price made by investors could persuade farmers to adopt carinata. If this sounds of interest, below we provide the abstract to the paper along with a movie showing the model running along with some figures of the model logic and an example of one of the results. At the bottom of the post you can find the full reference to the paper and a link to a pdf of it. Similar to our other papers a detailed Overview, Design concepts and Details (ODD) protocol along with the model and the data needed to run the model has been made available at This additional material allows for a more in-depth description of the model, as well as facilitates the replication of results or extension of the model.

Abstract: The use of fossil fuels is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions but there are alternatives to these especially in the form of biofuels, fuels derived from bioenergy crops. This paper aims to determine farmers’ potential adoption rates of newly introduced bioenergy crops with a specific example of carinata in the state of Georgia. The determination is done using an agent-based modeling technique with two principal assumptions – farmers are profit maximizer and they are influenced by neighboring farmers. Two diffusion parameters (traditional and expansion) are followed along with two willingness (high and low) scenarios to switch at varying production economics to carinata and other prominent traditional field crops (cotton, peanuts, corn) in the study region. The paper finds that a contract prices around $9, $8 and $7 can be a viable option for encouraging farmers to adopt carinata in low, average, and high profit conditions, respectively. Expansion diffusion (that diffuses all over the geographical area), rather than centered to the few places like traditional diffusion at the early stage of adoption in conjunction with higher willingness conditions influences higher adoption rates in the short-term. As such, the model can be used to understand the behavioral economics of carinata in Georgia and beyond, as well as offering a potential tool to study similar bioenergy crops.
Keywords: Adoption, Agent-based modeling, Bioenergy Crops, Farming.
County-wise land availability for carinata production
Process, overview and scheduling of the model
Number of farmers who adopt carinata in the rotation years with high profit condition  (carinata yield = 60 bu/acre, carinata production cost = $260/acre)

Full Reference:

Ullah, K. and Crooks A.T., (2022), Modelling Farmers’ Adoption Potential to New Bioenergy Crops: An Agent-based Approach, The 2022 Computational Social Science Society of Americas Conference, Santa Fe, NM. (PDF)

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