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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effects of government programmes on sustainable agriculture in the Peace River region of British Columbia : a linear programming analysis Addo, Majid Kwabena


Land is an essential resource for most types of agricultural production. Its continued productivity forms a significant part of the deliberations about sustainable agriculture. While discussing sustainable agriculture, this thesis focuses on government agricultural programmes that have influenced agricultural land use in the Peace River region of British Columbia. The general aim is to point out the relevant programmes that impede sustainability of agriculture. We assume that farmers are continually making decisions about the optimal allocation of land so as to maximise present value of net farm incomes. A linear programme (LP) is one of the techniques of mathematical programming that can be used to maximise farm incomes. It is this technique that we employed to analyze effects of government agricultural programmes on land use as it pertains to crop and forage production in the Peace River region, where for ages are assumed to be a derived demand for livestock production.Cultivation practices of summerfallow and continuous cropping are examined. Parametric linear programming (PLP) is subsequently used to analyze other optimal land use scenarios by varying the LP's objective function coefficients. As well, other cases including the elimination or halving of government subsidies are also simulated and discussed. Furthermore, an attempt was made to simulate two other scenarios that deal with the removal of grains and summerfallow from lower quality land. The region's soilerosion problem was also simulated. It was found, among other things, that four government agricultural programmes--Western Grain Stabilization Act, Special Canadian Grain Programme, Crop Insurance and Chemical Rebates--encouraged cultivation of marginal lands, which are more susceptible to erosion. For example, some 26% (comprising wheat and summerfallow) of the total farm acreage occurred on classes 4and 5 land. Consequently, these programmes, as presently constituted, adversely impact on Peace River region's sustainable agriculture. Cultivation of grains on only good quality lands resulted in a significant reduction of summerfallow and more intensive cropping, which will lead to less soil degradation in the region. This alternative programme also was observed to increase a farmer's income by about 4%, which can add a total of over $259,000 to the region's economy. As well, it can increase pasture to feed more than 15,600 beef cows, which will be a boon to the livestock industry in the region.

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