Outreach and Extension

Applied Economics at Oregon State has long served Oregon and elsewhere with our deep tradition of research, outreach, and extension in agricultural and resource economics and policy. We specialize in natural resource and environmental economics, international trade and development, rural economics, agricultural marketing, and food systems. We aim to improve decision- and policy-making in Oregon and beyond through rigorous economic analysis and training.

The Profitability Decision Tool, developed in part by Professor Clark Seavert, is an economic and financial tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals who want to explore alternative rotations in dryland farming systems of the inland Pacific Northwest. In precipitation-limited areas, farmers have relied on rotations that include fallow to conserve moisture in the soil profile. Alternative cropping rotations can provide options as the climate in recent years has changed to wetter springs and drier, hotter summers.

Growers can use this model to compare the economic and financial impacts of changing to an alternative crop rotation. For example, growers can develop two alternative rotations and compare them to their current cropping system based on whole-farm net returns, the quantities of production inputs, and outputs of crops grown.

This model is an easy-to-use tool. As a result, growers with limited knowledge of spreadsheets will successfully make cropping decisions for the future.

Tradeoff Analysis Project 

The Tradeoff Analysis (TOA) Project develops modeling tools that can be used by research teams to improve the understanding of agricultural system sustainability and inform policy decisions. The goal is to support informed policy decision making. In many cases, data, time and other resources are not available to allow use of the full Tradeoff Analysis system. The Minimum Data model (TOA-MD version 4) was developed to enable analysts to provide timely information by utilizing all available data for quantitative analysis of agricultural systems. The latest software (TOA-MD version 5) extends the minimum-data version by modeling the whole farm system (crops, livestock, aquaculture, non-farm income) and simulating economic indicators (per-capita income, income-based poverty) and mean and threshold indictors for any other quantifiable economic, environmental or social outcome associated with the systems. 

AgBiz Logic 

AgBiz Logic offers a user-friendly interface for a suite of economic, financial, and environmental decision tools designed for businesses that grow, harvest, package, add value, and sell agricultural products. Registered users can manage budgets to track performance—and quickly pinpoint areas for improvement and see where they are performing well. The suite of products includes:

  • AgBizProfit, which enables you to make more effective short-, medium-, and long-term capital investment decisions by effectively measuring your investment’s profitability
  • AgBizLease, which allows you to establish equitable crop and livestock leases
  • AgBizFinance, which empowers you to make sound investment decisions based on 19 financial ratios and performance measures
  • AgBizEnvironment, which gives you the ability to account for environmental impacts when analyzing business decisions
  • AgBizClimate, which is both a farm-level decision support tool and an assessment tool for researchers and government agencies to realistically determine how climate change and climate change policies may influence and impact regional agricultural sectors. YouTube video about AgBizClimate


Willamette Water 2100 

The Willamette Water 2100 project (WW2100) was a collaborative NSF-funded research project led by OSU faculty working with colleagues from University of Oregon, Portland State University, and others. The objectives were to identify and quantify the linkages and feedbacks among human, hydrologic, and ecologic dimensions of the water system, and to evaluate how policy changes or other interventions might affect future water scarcities.

The WW2100 model allows us to project into the future the ways that changes in climate, population, and income from 2010 to 2100 will alter the supply, demand, allocation, and scarcity of water. The insights from these analyses are found here and here.  This OSU Extension Publication describes more results and details from the WW2100 model with a focus on its economic dimensions, i.e., the impacts on people who live in the Willamette Basin.

Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy 

The Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy (CAEP) works to improve public and private decision making by providing objective economic analysis of critical public policy issues concerning agriculture, natural resources, energy, food systems, technology, and the environment. Center researchers have recently published papers on topics such as the new Farm Bill, Crop Insurance, and the Conservation Reserve Program.

One activity of CAEP is an OSU-UCD Partnership for Agricultural & Resource Policy Research (OreCal), a collaboration between the Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy at Oregon State University and the University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis.

Enterprise Budgets 

The Oregon Agricultural Enterprise Budgets site offers resources for the dissemination of Oregon Agricultural Information Network Enterprise Budget Sheets and additional agriculture-related materials for users from across the state. The data can be searched by a specific Oregon county or regionally. In addition, users can search for a specific commodity (from dozens of choices). The data can be downloaded to your computer in either pdf or excel formats.

Our most recent Oregon Agricultural Enterprise Budgets are available at this link.

Rural Studies Program 

The Rural Studies Program at OSU addresses critical social issues and policies that impact rural peoples and rural spaces.  By focusing on the interconnections among people, places, and resources, the Rural Studies Program is helping to define a vision for high-priority research and education that ascribes to the power of evidence and innovation to improve lives and strengthen rural communities. This vision is enhanced through a collaborative climate for partnerships and conversations among academics, policy leaders, and rural residents.  

The Rural Studies Program develops new knowledge and synthesizes existing information on issues essential to the prosperity of Oregon communities and transferable to other regions. These issues include: Community vitality and wealth creation; Impacts of federal, state and local policy on rural people and places; Rural poverty, food insecurity and the social safety net; Land use. Ecosystem services and resource use; Public Accountability.