Robert Gordon

University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (5)3.06 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: There is growing interest in Nova Scotia's Environmental Farm Plan (NS EFP) program among farmers and policy makers because of several reasons. First, effectiveness of standardized or uniform beneficial management practices in mitigating the negative environmental impacts from agriculture is limited by inherent heterogeneities in agricultural production systems. In addition, there is heightened interest in farmers generating ecological goods and services to society. This study investigates the determinants of participation in the NS EFP program. A discrete choice model of NS EFP participation was applied to a sample of 83 farmers (representing a 31% response rate). To increase relevance of the study to program administrators, the study also examined farmers’ use of various channels and sources of information on farm conservation practices. The most used sources of information on farm conservation practices include a mix of interpersonal sources and government agencies. Although online information (especially those available for free) appears to be gaining popularity in usage, overall, electronic and computer channels of information (especially radio and television) were used less compared with traditional channels of communicating farm conservation information (such as newsletters and agricultural magazines). Regression analysis suggests that farm characteristics (i.e., farm type, farm size, farm income) and farmer capacity variables (i.e., specialized training and knowledge from EFP program information sessions and workshops, and on-farm stewardship demonstrations) were significant determinants of environmental farm planning.
    Land Use Policy 01/2010; 27(4):1097-1106. · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Standard analysis of the economic feasibility of on-farm biogas energy production tend to emphasize primarily on direct financial benefits to farmers, and abstracts from the nonmarket cobenefits associated with anaerobic digestion of livestock manure and other biomass feedstock. This shortcoming of the standard feasibility analysis raises a fundamental question: How is the economic feasibility of on-farm anaerobic biogas energy production affected by the associated nonpecuniary cobenefits? Incorporating key nonmarket cobenefits from biogas energy production extends the standard economic feasibility analysis, and provides important insights. When nonmarket cobenefits were excluded, on-farm biogas energy production was generally not financially feasible for the dairy and swine farm size ranges studied (except for 600- and 800-sow farms). Overall, results of the financial feasibility analysis did not change compared to a base scenario (without nonmarket cobenefits) when an estimated annual total nonmarket cobenefits of CND$5000 was incorporated into the analysis, for both dairy and swine farms. Biogas energy production was generally financially viable for small-size dairy (i.e., 50-cow) and swine (i.e., 200-sow) farms when the nonmarket cobenefits were valued at CND$15,000 (or higher). Improvements in financial feasibility were more dramatic for dairy than for swine farms.
    Energy Policy. 02/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Most agricultural beneficial management practices (BMP) require not only investment of money and forgone opportunities for farmers, but can also result in reduced farm returns, especially in the short-run, thereby making such BMP adoption costly for farmers. Two approaches were used to assess the detailed on-farm costs, and important non-economic and less quantifiable decision considerations associated with establishing and maintaining two structural BMPs and one nonstructural BMP in the Thomas Brook Watershed, Nova Scotia, Canada. Labour cost and technical consultancy fees as a percentage of total BMP cost was higher for the stormwater diversion drainage system (60%) than for fencing to exclude livestock from a waterway (32%). In contrast, material costs as a proportion of total cost was higher for livestock exclusion fencing (47%) than for the stormwater diversion drainage system (6%). Results of the analysis demonstrate the complementarity of the two methods. The case study in-depth interviews on key farm and BMP specific factors considered in implementing the BMPs are consistent with the empirical economic cost analysis. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis revealed that besides economic costs, other important factors and motivations influence farmers' decisions to implement and maintain environmental conservation-compatible practices, which agricultural administrators and policy makers should not ignore.
    Journal of International Farm Management. 07/2008; 4(3):1-32.
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    ABSTRACT: The economic feasibility of on-farm biogas energy production was investigated for swine and dairy operations under Nova Scotia, Canada farming conditions, using net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and payback period (PP) economic decision criteria. In addition, the effects of selected environmental and “green” energy policy schemes on co-generation of on-farm biogas energy production and other co-benefits from anaerobic digestion of livestock manure were investigated. Cost-efficiencies arising from economies of scale for on-farm anaerobic biogas production were found for swine farms, and less so for dairy production systems. Without incentive schemes, on-farm biogas energy production was not economically feasible across the farm size ranges studied, except for 600- and 800-sow operations. Among single policy schemes investigated, green energy credit policy schemes generated the highest financial returns, compared to cost-share and low-interest loan schemes. Combinations of multiple policies that included cost-share and green energy credit incentive schemes generated the most improvement in financial feasibility of on-farm biogas energy production, for both swine and dairy operations.
    Energy Policy. 01/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: This study characterized the costs and benefits associated with adopting ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) standard, based on a survey of ISO 14001-registered organizations in Canada. Decision makers are contemplating whether it is necessary to register to one or more of the ISO and other international standards and, if so, which ones. Furthermore, an organization that has registered separate departments to different standards and contemplates integrating such standards across the different units may be interested in attributes of particular units that will facilitate integration. Discriminant analysis was conducted to characterize the factors that distinguish between organizations that adopted ISO 14001 alone (single standard), versus those that registered to ISO 14001 along with other quality, health, and safety standards (i.e., multiple standards). The most important factor that motivated adoption to ISO 14001 was to establish a positive environmental profile, thereby promoting goodwill and integrity. Internal factors tended to dominate the motivations for adopting ISO 14001, supporting the hypothesis that external benefits may not be fully realized due to market and policy failure. Internal costs associated with registration depended on the size of the organization and ranged, on average, from CND$17,000 (for organizations with less than 100 employees), to CND$42,000 (for organizations with more than 500 employees). External costs depended more on the type (i.e., sector of the Canadian economy) than on size of the organization. The most important variable that distinguished between Canadian organizations that adopted ISO 14001 alone versus those that adopted ISO 14001 and other standards was whether the organization had an international orientation, that is, those with more than 50% of services or exports to other countries. [EconLit citations: L150, L200, Q290]. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 19: 439-457, 2003.
    Agribusiness 01/2003; 19(4):439-457. · 0.76 Impact Factor