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Abstract

The elimination of methyl bromide (MeBr) has been a hot topic for policymakers for more than a decade. As a result, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signatory nations began implementing guidelines aimed at reducing or eliminating a variety of toxic substances, including MeBr, which has been identified as one of the toxic contributors to ozone depletion. In 1997 the Ninth Meeting of the Parties in Montreal recommended an accelerated phase-out schedule for MeBr. The accelerated phase-out program is a major concern to most U.S. farmers, and in particular to farmers in Georgia, where the product is used not only as an important soil fumigant but also to control both the yellow and purple nutsedge (Cyperus sp.). Furthermore, this chemical is used for the production of most of Georgia's economically important vegetable crops such as cucumber, eggplant, green pepper, tomato, squash, and zucchini. If MeBr is phased out without alternatives, the production of these crops will be impossible under Georgia weather conditions. The adverse economic impact to the State of Georgia will be devastating. Although most of the data used in previous economic-impact analyses regarding the elimination of MeBr has been obtained through the testing of tomatoes and strawberries in Florida and California, this study-which focuses on bell pepper production-is aimed at evaluating the economics of three alternative fumigants and herbicides and determining which alternative will provide the best yield, quality, and profitability for bell pepper in the absence of MeBr. An enterprise budget analysis revealed that C35 and KPAM provided the highest net returns: $1,768/acre.

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