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Dakpo KH., Desjeux Y. and Latruffe L. (2021). sfaR: Stochastic Frontier Analysis using R. R package version 0.0.91, https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=sfaR.
Maximum likelihood estimation for stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) of production (profit) and cost functions. The package includes several distributions for the one-sided error term (i.e. Rayleigh, Gamma, Weibull, lognormal, uniform, generalized exponential and truncated skewed Laplace) as well as the latent class stochastic frontier model (LCM) as described in Dakpo et al. (2021) doi:10.1111/1477-9552.12422. Several possibilities in terms of optimization algorithms are proposed.

Candemir A., Duvaleix S., Latruffe L. (2021). Agricultural cooperatives and farm sustainability – A literature review. Journal of Economic Surveys, https://doi.org/10.1111/joes.12417.
We present a literature review of the role played by agricultural cooperatives in influencing farm sustainability. We first focus on the theoretical literature to highlight the various economic behaviours of cooperatives. Then we investigate all three dimensions of sustainability in developing and developed countries. We aim at linking the empirical findings to the theoretical understanding of cooperatives, in particular members’ heterogeneity. This paper shows that cooperatives play a non‐negligible role in farm economic sustainability and in the adoption of environmentally friendly practices, suggesting that both public policies and private initiatives in cooperatives may be complementary. As regards social sustainability, there are only a few studies existing on the role of agricultural cooperatives. The trade‐off between economic and environmental sustainability in cooperatives would need to be further investigated.

Heinrichs J., Jouan J., Pahmeyer C., Britz W. (2021). Integrated assessment of legume production challenged by European policy interaction: A case-study approach from French and German dairy farms”. Q Open, Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2021, qoaa011, https://doi.org/10.1093/qopen/qoaa011.
Legumes, which currently show low production levels in the European Union, can reduce negative environmental externalities of agricultural systems by lowering nitrogen (N) fertilization and increasing protein self-sufficiency. This has led to the introduction of coupled support in France, in contrast to Germany. However, the German implementation of the Nitrates Directive is more favorable for legumes. Our study assesses economic and environmental impacts of these two policies affecting legume production. We employ the bio-economic model FarmDyn, representing French and German dairy farms. The results suggest that relatively low levels of coupled support can lead to modest increases in legume production, but that more substantial changes require considerable subsidies. Allowing the French farm to apply manure on legumes, as is already possible in Germany, fosters legume production while considerably reducing the use of synthetic N fertilizer and imported protein-rich feed. However, environmental benefits are limited.

Heinrichs J., Kuhn T., Pahmeyer C., Britz W. (2021). Economic effects of plot sizes and farm-plot distances in organic and conventional farming systems: A farm-level analysis for Germany. Agricultural Systems, 187, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2020.102992.
Plot sizes and farm-plot distances affect the economic performance of agricultural production. Their economic effects likely differ between conventional and organic farming systems due to major differences in crop production programs. Our paper quantifies these effects based on big data on resource requirements of field operations, summarized by regression models. Combined with detailed case study information obtained through interviews, we assess plot size and farm-plot distance effects for three case study farms which recently converted to organic farming. Our results show for both farming systems, as expected, that larger plot sizes reduce labor requirements and costs associated with crop production while larger farm-plot distances increase them. At same plot sizes and farm-plot distances organic farms face lower costs in crop production and, at given market prices, higher profits. Cost savings from larger plot sizes are, however, higher in conventional farming systems as are cost increases from growing farm-plot distances. This implies that economic benefits of conversion are higher for farms managing smaller plots farther away from the farm. Land fragmentation might hence favor switching to organic production and motivate regionally differentiated subsidy rates.

Duvaleix, S.; Lassalas, M.; Latruffe, L.; Konstantidelli, V.; Tzouramani, I. (2020). Adopting Environmentally Friendly Farming Practices and the Role of Quality Labels and Producer Organisations: A Qualitative Analysis Based on Two European Case Studies. Sustainability, 12(24), 10457, https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410457.
Various drivers behind the adoption of environmentally friendly practices have been investigated at the farm level in the literature, e.g., farmers’ motivations and attitudes, farms’ structure, and management or policies. Yet, the way in which quality labels and producer organisations influence the adoption of environmentally friendly practices by farmers is still under-researched. We contribute to this topic and present the results of qualitative interviews with producer organisations, conducted in 2019 in two contrasting case studies: the pig sector in Brittany (western France), and the olive oil sector in Crete (Greece). Our study shows that economic actors of food supply chains in these two case studies use European quality labels, a couple of national schemes, and a proliferation of private quality labels (in Brittany’s pig sector). Our interviews reveal that many quality labels, for which agricultural farming systems must comply with a set of rules, are not specifically aimed at improving environmental impacts. In the Cretan olive oil sector, we observe several European public labels. In the French pig sector, many quality labels do not include requirements for practices aiming at improving the environment, but instead focus on other practices that matter for society, namely improving animal welfare. However, advisory services provided by the producer organisations can play a key role in the adoption of environmentally friendly practices. They include research programmes and agronomic events. In Crete, producer organisations are able to offer technical assistance thanks to European support programmes.

Florian V., Rusu M., Rosu E., Chitea M., Bruma S., Pocol C. (2020). Behavioural factors and ecological farming. Cases studies. Scientific Papers Series: “Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development”, 20(2/2020).
The main objective of the paper is to identify and understand how the Romanian farmers relate to ecological farming in terms of ecological practices and ecological products. To achieve this objective, qualitative research methods were used: hybrid forum method and in-depth interviews. The obtained results reveal that in the county Cluj-Napoca, the stakeholders opt for building an operational social system (balanced functioning of the education, production, research, distribution systems within multi-dimensional political programmes/projects). At the same time, the stakeholders from Suceava opt for building an operational social system where the ecological practices are the core of agricultural systems.

Florian V., Rosu E. (2020). Ecological farming – rural realities, socio ecological arguments and comments. Cluj county case study. Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, 17(1).
The investigation of the relationship between ecology and sociology, in a sustainable agricultural matrix, provides possible complete answers to the problems generated by the respect of the environment and building a favourable environmental matrix. The interdisciplinary perspective investigates the following dimensions in sociological terms: environmental, economic and social processes induced by land use or land use changes, spatial interactions of processes and driving forces in anthropogenic landscapes. The specific trends of ecological farming are largely influenced by the behavioural factors and by the cultural and social capital of farmers involved in this type of farming activity.