The Role of Risk in the Decision to Produce Post-Decoupling - A Stochastic Budgeting Example

Under the Mac Sharry and Agenda 2000 reforms, direct payments comprised a significant portion of farmers' income in the EU. Farmers had to engage in production to receive these payments but the payments were relatively risk-free and therefore risk may not have played an important role in the production decision. This paper considers the effect of the decoupling of direct payments from production in the EU and in particular, on the role of production risk in the decision making process. In an environment where direct payments are completely decoupled from production, farmers may engage in an 'entitlement farming' system, that is retain their land only to activate the decoupled payment and not actually produce any tangible goods. This paper examines the effect of production risk on the economic trade off between 'entitlement farming' and conventional farming. A stochastic budgeting model is developed for two representative farms. The model is used to measure the probability that the returns to the 'entitlement farming' system could be higher than the profit emanating from a conventional farming system given production risk. The results show that for the less efficient representative farm, the probability of achieving a significantly higher profit by engaging in entitlement farming is 46 percent, while further analysis shows that there is a 9 percent probability that profits from conventional farming systems would be only marginally higher than the 'entitlement farming' option.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q12; Q18
Series Statement:
Contributed Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-24

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