The dramatic expansion of the biofuels sector is having a cascade of influences on social and economic processes. These changes clearly will have impacts on socio-economic well being, particularly in rural communities where biofuels plants are located and where biofuels feedstocks are produced. Heightened demand for biofuels feedstocks already is having an unprecedented impact on farmers’ land use decisions, which are linked to environmental concerns. Two of the grand challenge questions to be addressed by the social scientists in the proposed IGERT program are the following: 

(A) How are land use decisions impacted by increased demand for biofuel feedstocks? 

(B) How important are the scale of production and plant ownership structure in ensuring that communities gain economic benefits from biofuels production?

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Agricultural Economics