Decreases in air pollution boost corn and soybean yield

Feb 28, 2020

Faced with growing global food demand, one solution to increasing productivity is cutting air pollution, reported Ohio's Country Journal.

MIT Sloan School of Management visiting professor Konstantinos Metaxoglou and UC Davis ag economics professor Aaron Smith quantified crop yield increases attributed to recent reduction in the emissions of NOx from power plants in the U.S. They found that the average corn yield increased by 2.5% and soybeen yield by 1.6% from 2003 to 2011.

The increased yield led to an increase in the two crops' total annual surplus.

“While farmers are worse off and consumers are better off, the economy on the whole benefits because the gain for consumers outweighs the loss for producers,” Metaxoglou said. “Our findings show that reducing NOx and other harmful emissions from power plants is beneficial not only for human health, but also for agriculture production.”


By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist