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Friday, December 14, 2018

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9942. Ayer, H. and N. Conklin. 1990. Economics of Ag Chemicals: Flawed methodology and a conflict of interest quagmire.. Choices, Fourth qtr. 1990, p.24,26,28,30.
In this paper, Ayer and Conklin discuss what they consider to be the flawed methodology of a paper entitled Impacts of Reduced Chemical Use on Crop Yield and Costs, by Knutson, Taylor, Penson and Smith (KTPS) of Texas A & M. Some of their complaints are that the paper does not consider a price-induced substitution for commercial nitrogen fertilizers, it does not account for the conservation practices that would be induced, it freezes imports to a pre-chemical ban lavel, it is unrealistic and irrelevant to consider a total ban policy, and that there is the appearance of a conflict of interest due to partial funding by private industry. For these reasons, Ayer and Conklin feel the study should not be used to formulate agricultural policy regarding the use of chemicals. A rebuttal is included by the authors of the paper in question. They respond that the 140 scientists involved in the study used estimates that reflected changes in management practices, utilizing green manures where feasible and limited supplies of animal manures. They feel the model they used does allow for research to continue at the same level and they feel there is little basis to believe there will be an increase in appropriations to research. They explain that a pre-chemical ban is necessary for imports to limit flooding of the U. S. market and they dispute the charge that private funding implies "cooked" results.

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