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Agricultural Economics

SVAEC Extension programs in agricultural economics are led by Kevin Athearn. Programs are delivered in collaboration with county agents, state specialists, and other organizations. Program areas include:

  1. Farm Economics & Management Decisions
  2. Small Farm Marketing
  3. Farm Business Start-Up
  4. Agriculture, Natural Resources, & the Local Economy

Statewide extension programs in agricultural economics are led by the Food and Resource Economics Department.

Farm Economics & Management Decisions

The North Florida Enterprise Budget Program develops budgets for crop production and other farm enterprises representative of North Florida growing conditions, markets, and farm types. Statewide commodity production budgets can be found on the Food and Resource Economics Department’s Commodity Production Budget website.

Farmers face numerous management decisions that affect farm profitability and other business goals. Evolving technologies, new varieties, and changes in market conditions, weather patterns, pest pressures, and regulations create decision challenges for even the most experienced growers. Common decisions include starting a new enterprise, changing product mix, adjusting production practices, and making capital investments. UF/IFAS Extension agents can provide information and analysis to help you evaluate management decisions.

Agricultural best management practice (BMP) guidelines have been developed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help protect water quality and conserve water in the state. As farmers consider which BMPs to adopt, they look for credible information on the economic viability of BMPs under conditions similar to theirs. At the SVAEC, economic components are integrated into research and extension activities related to BMPs and alternative crops and farming systems. This information assists farmers and policy makers with decision making.

Small Farm Marketing

SVAEC Extension workshops and consultations help small and beginning farmers identify potential market outlets; assess pros and cons of each; find and interpret market research; set prices appropriately; and develop a marketing plan.

The Florida Agriculture Network is a group of small farmers, Extension agents, and others interested in local food and agriculture. The network, based in Northeast Florida, organizes events and networking opportunities related to agricultural production and marketing.

Small-scale food preservation is an activity enjoyed by many households, and Florida's cottage food law allows the sale of some preserved food products prepared in a home kitchen if certain requirements are met. A budget template for home canning has been developed to help households and small food businesses estimate the cost and potential returns of home food preservation. You can download the instructions and budget worksheet for printing or use an interactive spreadsheet.

Farm-Business Start-Up

Starting up a business can be a daunting process. Accesing suitable farmland, financing the business, navigating regulations, choosing enterprises, developing a marketing plan, and writing a full business plan are some of the challenges new farmers face.

UF/IFAS Extension provides resources and programs to assist beginning farmers with business start-up and other challenges. The SVAEC Beginning Farmer page summarizes some resources available, and the calendar lists upcoming events. The Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises website maintains links to numerous business and marketing resources for beginning farmers on their Getting Started page.

Agriculture, Natural Resources, & the Local Economy

The North Florida economy depends heavily on agriculture, food systems, and natural resource industries. SVAEC Extension programs foster public awareness about agriculture and connections to the local economy.

Factsheets

A statewide Economic Impact Analysis Program is supported by UF’s Food and Resource Economics Department.