Annual bioenergy crops for biofuels production: Farmers' contractual preferences for producing sweet sorghum


Dedicated annual sorghum crops, such as sweet sorghum or energy sorghum, may provide an option for farmers to supply cellulosic feedstocks for biofuel production and help the industry meet government mandates. Kansas farmers are poised to be major producers of sweet sorghum for biofuels due to favorable agro-ecological conditions. The purpose of this paper is to assess Kansas farmers' willingness to grow sweet sorghum under contract as a feedstock for biofuel production. The paper examines farmers' willingness-to-pay for contract attributes and the impact of socio-economic factors on their willingness-to-pay for these attributes. A stated choice survey was administered to Kansas farmers to assess their willingness to grow sweet sorghum for biofuels under various contracting scenarios. Results show that farmers may be willing to grow biomass for bioenergy under contract, but may have varying preferences for the importance of contract attributes such as net returns, contract length, insurance availability, government incentives, and potential for biorefinery harvest options based on socio-economic characteristics of growers.