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Agriculture, Economics and Nature

University of Western Australia via Coursera


Sound economic thinking is crucial for farmers because they depend on good economic decision making to survive. Governments depend on economic information to make good policy decisions on behalf of the community. This course will help you to contribute to better decision making by farmers, or by agencies servicing agriculture, and it will help you to understand why farmers respond to policies and economic opportunities in the ways they do. You can use this course to improve your skills and knowledge and to assess whether this is a subject that you'd like to study further. The course includes high-quality video lectures, interviews with experts, demonstrations of how to build economic models in spreadsheets, practice quizzes, and a range of recommended readings and optional readings. Assessment is by quizzes and a final exam. The key economic principles that we’ll learn about can help us understand changes that have occurred in agriculture, and support improved decision making about things like agricultural production methods, agricultural input levels, resource conservation, and the balance between agricultural production and its environmental impacts. There are literally thousands of agricultural economists around the world who work on these issues, so there is a wealth of knowledge to draw on for the course. Watch a brief video about our course here:


  • Agricultural production and prices, and agriculture’s reliance on natural resources
    • Week 1 provides a history of agricultural production and prices, an examination into the reasons behind changes in production and prices, and discussions of the 2007 global food crisis and agriculture’s usage of resources.
  • Resource and environmental challenges facing agriculture
    • Week 2 addresses the agricultural issues of water availability, peak phosphorus, herbicide resistance, and climate change.
  • The economics of agricultural inputs
    • Week 3 looks at the relationship between inputs and outputs, the optimal level of an input, the question of pollution from inputs, and flat payoff functions.
  • The economics of land conservation
    • Week 4 focuses on evaluating land conservation practices, weighing benefits and costs correctly, non-economic factors, and provides an example in conservation agriculture.
  • The economics of agri-environmental projects
    • Week 5 discusses the importance of extending economics beyond the farm gate, characteristics of agri-environmental projects, Benefit: Cost Analysis, and provides an example with Gippsland Lakes.
  • Government policies in agriculture
    • Week 6 ties up the course through discussion of government policies that support agriculture, policies that protect the rural environment, policies with problems, and justifications for agricultural policy.
  • Final Exam

Taught by

David Pannell and Jacob Hawkins


4.6 rating, based on 7 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 439 ratings

Start your review of Agriculture, Economics and Nature

  • Anonymous
    Nice course in deed it helps much in understanding of economic roles on empowering Agriculture and it provides basics on how marketing is crucial for future agricultural productivity
  • Anonymous
    Shade reduces and stabilizes soil and air temperature; increases and preserves surface soil humidity and also reduces the direct light intensity reaching the coffee plant which has a principal role towards amplified production of coffee. Growing cof…
  • Hilda
    Agriculture economics and nature is good . I have a great experience and it a great course. It have been so nice for this lectures
  • Profile image for JENNYLYN JIMENEZ TAROMA
    hello everyone, i am glad to be join this course. by my own experience agriculture is not easy to do, need to spend more time, effort ,but if you love to do this its not hard right. and i want learning more also economic and nature. I'll have a lots of experience for agriculture but is not enough this for me. i want to more deeper more than i know.
  • I am very much interested in doing agriculture not only to do it myself even to teach community to plant organic food and to support their families. If its more than enough they can sell and get small change. Agriculture is my pssion.
  • A very good fundamental course for beginner to learn about agriculture and its impact on the environment. Moreover, It allow learner to understanding the environmental problems from an economic aspect.
    I have no doubt developed interest to pursue this path of personal development skill as it relates more to my career.

    It should be a "Must Do" to anyone who works in Agricultural related sector just as I do. It is noticeable to mention that the Economy of the world lies strictly on the only surviving path and almost the only affordable to all. including the primitive farmers from every race.

    I wish to be part of this if I meets the criterium for participation.

    Thank you.

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