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The Biofuels and Climate Change: Farmers' Land Use Decisions (BACC:FLUD) project aims to research farmers’ decisions to grow crops as feedstocks for renewable energy production ("biofuel crops"), and farmer's adaptation to climate change. BACC: FLUD is a collaborative project uniting faculty across multiple social and natural science disciplines, along with engineering, and between the educational institutions of the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. This project is funded by a five year grant from the National Science Foundation. Although the current research scope covers the state of Kansas, the long-range plan is to extend the study to all US states producing biofuel crops. Project objectives are as follows: [1] extract information from a satellite remote sensing land cover database; [2] develop and implement a survey instrument for gathering information from farmers; [3] develop and implement a protocol for interviewing farmers; [4] integrate a variety of datasets in order to develop a rich, longitudinal database on land use decisions with human and environmental dimensions; [5] develop a unified set of cross-disciplinary empirical methods - qualitative and quantitative - for identifying the factors driving farmers’ decisions.

This project intends to deliver three broad impacts. First, research results promise to improve Integrated Assessment Models that estimate regional carbon emissions and facilitate future climate impact simulation by generating more accurate policy scenarios and predictions of regional land use. Second, research results will help us to understand better the potential impacts of climate change on the US agricultural sector since the project highlights the effect of climate change on land use decisions. Third, the project contributes to society’s ability to produce renewable energy from cultivated feedstocks in a balanced manner that appreciates the trade-offs associated with biofuel crop cultivation, namely, impacts on food supplies, water availability, and surface water quality.

The BACC: FLUD project is embedded within a much larger research project examining climate change and renewable energy, which represents Phase VI of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) program. The National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) as a way to promote scientific progress in states that have traditionally received lesser amounts of NSF research and development funding.

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