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Abstract

Producing biomass energy requires extensive land resources. In western Massachusetts, where almost 90 percent of former farmland is no longer in commercial use, we study factors that motivate landowners to grow biomass energy crops. A geographic information system model identifies a landowner population, and a contingent valuation survey reveals payments landowners are willing to accept (WTA) for growing biomass crops. The median WTA estimate is $321 per hectare per year, which is high compared to regional land rental rates. Nonpecuniary factors appear to be as important in landowner acceptance as profit opportunities, especially for nonfarmer landowners.

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