Analyzing Production Costs of Organic Hazelnuts in Oregon

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2021: $73,124.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Host Institution Award ID: G364-21-W8614
Grant Recipient: Oregon Tilth
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Ben Bowell
Oregon Tilth


  • Nuts: hazelnuts


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, financial management
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    A recent market study identified strong potential to grow Oregon’s nascent organic hazelnut industry, advancing the crop as an economically and ecologically rewarding opportunity for more small farmers. This project aims to improve the viability of organic hazelnut enterprises by helping producers better understand their production costs and improve financial decision-making. PI Tanya Murray of Oregon Tilth will work with a group of six to ten producers from the Oregon Organic Hazelnut Cooperative (OOHC) to develop and pilot an approach for determining and analyzing production costs. The team will develop a costing model with input from an agricultural economist with expertise in tree crop enterprise budgeting. Murray will coach and support producers to use the approach to track and calculate costs of production activities on their own farms over two seasons; and then evaluate how various changes to practices, labor, equipment, scale, etc., can increase profitability. The pilot will inform refinement of the approach and development of a sharable model and user guide. Resources will be electronically published and the project will be shared with producers at Nut Growers’ Society Annual winter meetings and OOHC summer orchard tours. An educational webinar will be developed for Extension and other service providers to learn how to support organic nut producers using the approach. The project will help increase the viability of organic hazelnut enterprises, build interest in transition, and grow the industry’s role in Oregon’s farming future.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Develop a production costing model, time study protocols, and data collection requirements for organic hazelnut enterprises.

    2. Develop and implement on-farm data collection and recordkeeping processes that producers can use with the costing model.

    3. Test the feasibility and effectiveness of the costing approach through a pilot on six to ten organic hazelnut farms.

    4. Generate results from analysis that producers expect to support improved management and increased profitability of their enterprises.

    5. Refine the cost analysis approach and develop user guidance; broadly disseminate resources and lessons learned to other organic hazelnut and other organic nut producers, as well as those interested in transition.

    6. Increase Extension agents' and other service providers’ knowledge of and interest in using the resources to support organic hazelnut and other organic nut producers to conduct their own cost analysis.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.