A New Economic Assessment Tool for Organic Apple Producers

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
German Rodriguez, Program Associate , University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Jennie H. Popp, Co-Director , Dept. of Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Curt R. Rom, Co-Director, Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability , Horticulture, Dale Bumpers College, Fayetteville, AR
Heather Friedrich , Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Jason McAfee , University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Haxhire Myrteza , University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Haxhire Myrteza , University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Although conventional apple production in the United States is not increasing, and is decreasing in some states and regions, organic fruit production has increased significantly in the last decade.  Organic orchards in the Pacific Northwest have been proven to be both economic and sustainable, however, there is limited experience and published research on organic apple orchard production in the southern region.  Preliminary work through surveys of stake-holders in the southern region indicated great opportunities exist for markets of both fresh and processed fruits within the region, but also indicated there are significant challenges.  These challenges include assessments of lack of information available on the economic impacts of different organic production practices and the potential returns available from organic production. In this poster, we describe the development of an interactive organic apple production economic assessment tool. The tool is both easy to use and highly customizable. It can be used for two economic purposes. First producers can use the tool to estimate enterprise production budgets. The produce can choose to: 1) use default cost values built into the tool; 2) enter costs from their farm; or 3) combine both.  Anytime producers modify an activity, the budgets automatically calculate total cost per year, a breakeven analysis for yield and price and a sensitivity analysis for total cost. Second, producers can use it to evaluate cost, returns and breakeven points for X different production management systems (x ground cover, x fertilization treatments). With a click of a button producers are given tabular and graphical information that highlights  estimated costs, returns and breakeven values for these many options. This tool is useful because it allows producers to estimate operating costs, fixed costs, total costs and expected total returns by modifying an important production practice, cost or return value. Allowing comparisons among different practices would assist apple producers to make better investment decisions.