AgBizClimate™ can evaluate adaptation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change, such as equipment costs for no-till drills. Photo by Kurt Schroeder.

AgBizClimate™ online decision tool measures farm-level impacts of climate change

Issue: Most agricultural producers have a limited understanding of climate change and of how it may impact their specific farm and ranch enterprises. This results in a lack of understanding of the importance of developing adaptation strategies to reduce economic and financial risks.

Action taken: We developed a farm-level climate change decision support tool, AgBizClimate™, to assess the potential impacts of a changing climate on the net returns of current management and current agricultural systems. We worked with regional producers to identify 14 climate variables that could impact agricultural production practices.

AgBizClimate™ links with a suite of economic and financial modules known collectively as AgBiz Logic™ and provides essential economic, financial, and climatic information that producers and policy makers need to assess adaptation-management and policy options. Growers use their own enterprise budgets from AgBiz Logic™ to measure the impacts of climate change on net returns based on changing yields, product quality, and production inputs.

The climate variables in AgBizClimate™ include number of nights below freezing per year, accumulated chilling hours, seasonal minimum temperature, seasonal maximum temperature, accumulated growing degree days, number of warm nights per year, number of heat wave events per year, number of cold snap events per year, diurnal temperature range, growing season length per year, accumulated water year precipitation, maximum number of consecutive wet days per year, maximum number of consecutive dry days per year, and number of very heavy precipitation days.

Results: AgBizClimate™ broadens producers’ understanding of how a variety of regional climate characteristics will impact their production costs and the quantity and quality of their agricultural products. It can be applied to wheat and cereal production in the Pacific Northwest as well as to apples and other specialty crops. Once growers see how climate may change for their particular county, they begin to realize that tools are available that can assist them in measuring the financial impacts, and, using other AgBiz Logic™ modules, they begin to develop long-term adaptation strategies.

To learn more about AgBizClimate™, visit


AgBiz Logic™ helps growers make longterm financial decisions

Issue: A majority of agricultural producers do not have adequate accounting data to conduct an accurate and meaningful capital investment analysis for long-term decisions.

Action taken: We developed AgBiz Logic™, an online decision tool that enables growers to assess the economic, financial, and sustainability implications of alternative management practices as future scenarios. This tool links with a suite of economic, finance, and environmental modules known collectively as AgBiz Logic™ and provides essential information that producers and policy makers need to assess technology, adaptation strategies, and policy options.

The foundation of AgBiz Logic™ is return and cost budgets for specific enterprises on a per-unit basis and by region. However, as many as 85 percent of agricultural producers do not have the accounting data to construct these budgets. AgBiz Logic™ allows growers to take their existing federal income tax records, accounting information, and university and industry budgets to develop general and detailed budgets for their own farm and ranch enterprises. In addition, it allows growers to develop plans, a sequence of budgets that describes a situation over a period of time, and to develop scenarios, a set of plans to be compared to each other, that serve as the basis for the economic, financial, and environmental modules.

Growers can collect data from their federal income tax Schedule F forms or easily “drag and drop” accounting data from Excel spreadsheets and .csv files into AgBiz Logic™ gold standard categories. The data are then allocated to business enterprises—crops, livestock, nursery, etc.—and then allocated within each enterprise; for example, in crops the data might be allocated to cereal grains, row crops, vine crops, etc. This provides the information required to begin developing enterprise budgets on a per-unit basis by field, block, head, or herd.

Results: Growers have used AgBiz Logic™ successfully on its initial release. They understand and are pleased with the ease of collecting their financial data and of allocating it to business enterprises and budgets.

To learn more about AgBiz Logic™, visit


Understanding economic and environmental tradeoffs with climate change

Issue: Climate change and increased climate variability will affect agriculture in many ways that will have both farm-level impacts and regional impacts. Farmers and growers need to be cognizant of the risks and opportunities that future weather patterns may bring to yields and profitability as well as to the possible environmental outcomes associated with changes in their management regimes.

A tool or set of tools that can link farm-level decisions to regional outcomes is needed to address the economic and environmental tradeoffs associated with changes in climatic conditions and to inform future policy. Such tools will improve decision-making under climate change by increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change, and helping to enhance food security under a changing climate.

Action taken: We are linking a farm-scale decision support  tool called AgBiz Logic® ( with a region-scale tool called TOA-MD ( AgBiz Logic® collects farm-level enterprise data and could provide high-quality, timely data at relatively low cost. A data system that links farm management software to a confidential database could provide near-real-time data on management decisions and do so for a statistically representative “panel” of farm decision makers over time. The level of detailed management data utilized by AgBiz Logic® would provide the needed level of detail for using a tool such as TOA-MD, which can examine a variety of economic, social, and environmental tradeoffs on a regional scale. TOA-MD models the whole farm system (crops, livestock, aquaculture, non-farm income) and simulates mean and threshold economic indicators (per-capita income, income-based poverty) as well as other quantifiable economic, environmental, and social outcomes associated with the systems.

Results: We have contributed a chapter to a forthcoming Climate-Smart Agriculture publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Our chapter describes a case study that uses the dryland wheat-producing area of the US Pacific Northwest to illustrate how decision support tools can be designed to address the farm-scale tradeoffs associated with changes in climatic conditions and to allow both farmers and policy makers to evaluate climate-smart options to optimize farm-level net returns and regional environmental outcomes.

Results published in:

  • Susan M. Capalbo, Clark Seavert, John M. Antle, Jenna Way and Laurie L. Houston. “Understanding Tradeoffs in the Context of Farm-Scale and Regional Impacts: An Application of Decision-Support Tools for assessing Climate Smart Agriculture.” In D. Zilberman, L. Lipper, N. McCarthy, S. Asfaw, G. Branca, editors. Climate Smart Agriculture - Building Resilience to Climate Change. Elsevier. Forthcoming, 2017.