Economic impact and contribution analyses are an increasingly popular method for illustrating the importance of food, fiber, and forestry to state and local economies.  In many cases, methods for conducting these analyses are described; however descriptions often lack sufficient detail to allow an effective comparison of procedures used across studies.  In 2015, a survey of economists showed vast variations in methods used to conduct contribution studies.  The survey results suggested a need for the development of standard procedures for contribution of agriculture analyses, in order to increase transparency and comparability between studies.

In 2016, the Development of Standard Procedures for Contribution Analysis of Agriculture and Forestry Workshop was held in Minneapolis, MN.  Those invited included university researchers, private research firms, members of government agencies, and university administrators. The objective was to assess current practices in contribution of agriculture and forestry research, with the goal of opening discussion toward the development of a standardized procedure for researchers to use in conducting future studies.

Workshop participants expressed interest in the development of guidelines to be utilized and cited when conducting contribution analyses for agriculture and forestry. The need was expressed for a quick reference guide, with the ultimate goal being the production of a more expansive document, delving further into the complex issues confronted by researchers performing contribution of agriculture and forestry analyses.  A copy of the workshop proceedings may be found by visiting our Resources page.

The purpose of this website is to provide a resource for researchers involved in the economics of food, fiber, and forestry.  The website consists of 3 main parts:

  • State Pages – individual pages for each state can be accessed by clicking on the U.S. map (or the links found below the map). These pages contain agricultural facts, as well as a list of all state-level and regional impact/contribution reports available.
  • Resources – the resources page contains publications and presentations related to the study of impact and contribution analysis.  This is also where the Quick Reference Guide to Performing a Contribution of Agriculture Analysis using IMPLAN will be found, as well as the more expansive working paper.
  • Forum – the forum allows researchers to ask questions and discuss topics related to the economic impact/contribution of food, fiber, and forest industries.

We hope that researchers will use this resource to connect with one another and share ideas.  The ultimate goal is to increase knowledge in this field and take some of the guesswork out of performing these types of studies, while at the same time increasing transparency and accuracy of results. Please send any comments, including materials to add, regarding this website to cars@uark.edu.

Thank you.

Leah English, M.S.

Jennie Popp, Ph.D.

Wayne Miller, Ph.D.