being measured. Other measures might incorporate land requirements per unit of biofuel, soil erosion, or impacts of the associated biorefinery.

Regulations and voluntary programs have been the traditional policy approach to ameliorating the negative impacts of agricultural production, and the degree to which such practices have been applied has often been the measure of success. Because biofuels could become a dominant driver of agricultural production across the landscape—affecting crop choice, land use, and production practices—it may be appropriate to respond to this change with measures of success that relate specifically to the new driver. For example, feedstocks could be chosen using metrics of energy output per unit of water quality impact and water use, and more performance measures that directly monitor impacts of biofuels production on water resources could be applied.


Doering III, Otto C. 2005. Energy systems integration: Fitting biomass energy from agriculture into U.S. energy systems. Pp. 112–130 in Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy. J.Outlaw, K.Collins, and J.Duffield, eds. Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing.

National Research Council (NRC). 2001. Assessing the TMDL Approach to Water Quality Management. Washington, D.C.: National AcademyPress.

Soil Water Conservation Society (SWCS). 2003. Comments on the Interim Rule for the Conservation Reserve Program, Soil and Water Conservation Society, July 7, 2003. Available online at Accessed on July 13, 2007.

Tyner, W. 2007. U.S. Ethanol Policy—Possibilities for the Future. Purdue Cooperative Extension Bulletin ID-342-W. Available online at Accessed on July 13, 2007.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2006. Water Quality Trading. Available online at

U.S. General Accounting Office. 2003. Agricultural Conservation; USDA Needs to Better Ensure Protection of Highly Erodible Cropland and Wetlands. Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office.

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