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. Beginning Farmers
  2. Enterprise Budgets
  3. Local & Regional Marketing
  4. Decision Analysis
  5. Agriculture, Natural Resources, & the Local Economy

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

Beginning Farmers

The SVAEC Beginning Farmer page summarizes resources and programs for beginning farmers. Beginning farmers often seek information and training related to agricultural marketing and the business side of farming, as well as advice on growing particular crops or raising livestock. Business and marketing topics include leasing or buying land; choosing your farm enterprises; developing your marketing plan; writing your business plan; business start-up; financing your farm; managing risk; budgeting, recordkeeping, and management decisions; regulations; and taxes. Check our calendar for upcoming events or contact an Extension agent for information on these topics.

The Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises website maintains links to numerous business and marketing resources for beginning farmers on their Getting Started page.

Enterprise Budgets

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. These budgets are valuable for both beginning and experienced farmers, as well as for agricultural lenders.

Statewide commodity production budgets can be found on the Food and Resource Economics Department’s Commodity Production Budget website.

Local & Regional 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.

Decision Analysis

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 help assess economic feasibility and provide frameworks for evaluating 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.

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.


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