Master of Science
Sanders, Dwight R.
Agriculture in America has become precariously dependent on energy. Agriculture accounts for 17% of the total U.S. energy budget making it the single largest consumer of petroleum products as compared to other industries. The U.S. military, in all of its operations, uses about half that amount. About 350 gallons (1,500 liters) of oil equivalents are required to feed each American each year, and every calorie of food produced requires, on average, ten calories of fossil-fuel inputs. This is a food system profoundly vulnerable, at every level, to fuel shortages and oil price shocks. This study explores the relationship between producer input costs using ten major US row crop production budgets and their corresponding farm sizes so that, with the implications of the results, Illinois soybean producers might make better decisions about the scale of their operations considering the immense financial and operational risk producers are facing.