Date of Graduation

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor

Jennie S. Popp

Committee Member

M. Elena Garcia

Second Committee Member

Hector G. Rodriguez

Keywords

Blueberry Budgeting, Blueberry Decision Support Tool, Blueberry Organic and Conventional Production, Blueberry Sensitivity Analysis, Highbush Blueberry Farming Systems, High Tunnel Net Returns of Highbush Blueberry

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop and assess the profitability of four highbush blueberry farming systems in the south: organic field production, conventional field production, organic high tunnel production and conventional high tunnel production. Four baseline budget scenarios, one for each system, are developed for a 15 year production period. The results suggest that under expected production and price conditions for Northwest Arkansas, while all four production systems generated positive present value of net returns, the conventional field production produced the highest present value of net returns across the 15 years. The breakeven years of production were 7 and 8 for the conventional field system and organic field system, respectively. Because high tunnel production systems are not expected to increase yields over that of the field systems, the present value of net returns to these high tunnel systems were lower than those from their field production counterparts and these systems broke even much later, in year 12. Sensitivity analyses were conducted around the level of yields, input prices, output prices and pesticide application rates used in the baseline scenarios. Of the ranges of values examined for the sensitivity analyses, changes in yields seemed to have the greatest impact on the changes in present values of net returns. More study is needed to determine whether the range of values examined are representative of those faced by Arkansas producers. The baseline scenarios developed in this study will be used to inform the development of a new interactive sustainable blueberry production budgeting tool that will be released in 2015.

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