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Economic Decision Tools

Economic Decision Tools for Growing Hybrid Poplar for Biofuels


Potential growers need to know if growing hybrid poplar for biofuel feedstock is a financially sound decision. For short-rotation (2- to 3-year) poplars, an enterprise budget and financial decision-making tool to estimate profitability does not currently exist. The goal of this study is to develop an appropriate budget and decision-support tool for growers so they can make informed decisions.


This tool will help potential poplar growers estimate costs and profits, as well as understand management practices and technology in growing poplars to aid in their land-use decision-making.


We are researching different enterprise budget models and analyzing them based on several criteria such as technological sophistication, user-friendliness, and ease of adaptation to a hybrid poplar enterprise. Preliminary research shows that existing enterprise budget models vary a lot in terms of these criteria. Based on observations and analysis, we are developing an Excel-based tool for poplar enterprise budget decisions which is technologically simple and user-friendly.

A farmer walking through his field.
A Northwest farmer contemplates the economics of growing poplar for biofuels.