A farm-level approach to the methyl bromide phase-out
Byrd, Mark McCulloh
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Methyl bromide (MeBr) is an effective yet toxic soil fumigant that is subject to an accelerated phase-out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. As a result of the phase-out, Georgia farmers now require a substitute fumigant and herbicide combination that can control for weeds, pests, and diseases while delivering comparable yields to those of MeBr. This study analyzes the economic viability of alternative production methods on a representative Georgia pepper farm. The analysis is addressed through stochastic dominance analysis, an enterprise budget, and the development of a linear programming model. Alternative fumigants are ranked, analyzed within the budgetary framework, and subjected to production constraints such as farm acreage, capital structure, and asset allocation within the programming model. Compared with MeBr, the models prescribe results supporting the economic feasibility of several alternative fumigants, and thus serve to educate Georgia vegetable farmers on available input-substitution strategies.