Economic Targeting of Agricultural Beneficial Management Practices to Address Phosphorus Runoff in Manitoba
Kelly, Kaitlin E. 1992-
Non-point nutrient pollution from agricultural sources is known to have detrimental effects on water quality and aquatic ecosystem health within agricultural landscapes and is considered to be a significant negative externality associated with intensive agricultural production (Tilman et al. 2002; Pretty 2003; Lankoski and Ollikainen 2003). The detrimental effects of nutrient pollution, specifically phosphorus, are visible in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba where excess phosphorus inputs contribute to eutrophication. The majority of excess phosphorus flowing into Lake Winnipeg is thought to come from upstream agricultural sources, such as synthetic fertilizer and livestock manure which enter surface waterways through over-field runoff. The Government of Manitoba, in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, subsidizes agricultural producers to adopt beneficial management practices (BMPs) aimed at preventing excess phosphorus from entering surface waterways through over-field runoff. BMPs are currently administered under a uniform subsidy structure where each producer is offered the same cost-share subsidy for each BMP on a first-come, first-serve basis within a fixed budget. However, previous literature suggests that uniform subsidies are inefficient in terms of minimizing the costs and maximizing the environmental benefits provided by agri-environmental subsidies, especially when environmental improvement is dependent on heterogeneous landscape characteristics (Boxall et al. 2008; Lankoski and Ollikainen 2003). Rather, differentiated or targeted policy instruments are often the most efficient tools to increase the production of public environmental benefits on private agricultural lands through subsidization (Khana et al. 2003). The purpose of this research was to determine the relative performance of targeted nutrient management BMP subsidies compared to current uniform BMP subsidies using a case study of water retention pond BMPs to reduce phosphorus runoff in the La Salle sub-watershed of Manitoba. Benefit-cost targeting was shown to be the most cost effective way to allocate water retention pond subsidies in the La Salle sub-watershed so as to maximize the amount of phosphorus removed from surface runoff under the limited BMP subsidy budget. Using benefit-cost targeting to distribute water retention pond subsidies instead of the current uniform subsidy structure provided an efficiency gain equal to an additional 641 kilograms to 2,503 kilograms (depending on the discount rate used) of phosphorus removed from the La Salle sub-watershed.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentBioresource Policy, Business and Economics
SupervisorBelcher, Kenneth; Khakbazan, Mohammad
CommitteeHesseln, Hayley; Bedard-Haughn, Angela; Slade, Peter; Jeffrey, Scott
Copyright DateOctober 2016