Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Carl Dillon


Commercial fresh vegetable production is one of the most rewarding and risky farming activities. The price and yield variations throughout the production year, the special characteristics of fresh vegetable produce (i.e. perishability), and the changing consumer demands are some of the factors contributing to the increased uncertainty faced by vegetable producers. This dissertation combined mathematical programming and econometric techniques to: 1) investigate the optimal production and marketing practices under different price distribution information scenarios, risk aversion levels and marketing outlets and 2) examine growers’ preferences as well the effect of risk aversion levels and growers’ risk perception on the choice of marketing contracts. Specifically, the following three modeling approaches were adopted in order to achieve the dissertation objectives: 1) quadratic programming under a mean-variance framework, 2) discrete choice experiments and 3) a combination of quadratic and integer programming embodied in a meanvariance framework. The findings indicate that optimal production practices and the resulting net returns are substantially influenced not only by the choice of marketing channel but also by growers’ risk aversion levels as well as price knowledge. Furthermore, regarding the choice of marketing contracts, the results highlight the existence of heterogeneity in preferences and illustrate the importance of certification cost, in line with the previous literature. Lastly, the findings indicate that risk aversion and risk preferences do not play a significant role in the choice of contractual agreements by farmers.

Included in

Agribusiness Commons