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I do have one doubt, however. Some folks show data that indicates that too much fertilizer is used currently. Rising - perhaps dangerous - levels of nitrates in river systems (e.g., the Mississippi River) are well beyond that which can be blamed on (under-regulated) livestock manure concentrations in the river system's upstream watershed. Implication is that fertilizer on grain-growing land is dispensed too liberally.
This behavior would certainly fit the bottom-line model of the large-scale farms for which the question would simply be is the cost of the fertilizer for the number of units used less than the market price of the product given maximized grain yield.
In other words your interest in this subject - and your model(s) - seem to start from the ecological perspective. Is potential over-use of ammonia-based products a part of your analysis?
It does seem like something to address. The more niggling points like this that you can deal with, the better you can play up the doom cards.
That is, after all, a direct consequence of taking free rides on external costs and giving free rides on external benefits ... making it rational at the individual level to over-utilize the thing with the net external cost, and to under-utilize the thing with the net external benefit.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
The livestock stuff is a problem but keep in mind human waste is simply dumped in a lot of those municipalities. Spencer, Iowa, population about 9,000 has a direct discharge sewer system. That all reaches the Mississippi along with every other little town in the Midwest that does that ...
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