Agriculture, Economics and Nature

Key Details

Location: This is an online course
Price: free

The School of Agricultural and Resource Economics offers a free online course on the economics of agriculture, natural resources and the environment.

About the course

The development of agriculture is what got human beings started on the long trip from hunter-gatherers to modern civilisation. Agriculture remains an economically important industry in both developed and developing countries.

This course is about agriculture, including agricultural production and the interaction between agriculture and the environment. We will look at these issues from a general perspective, and from an economic perspective. You will see that the economic perspective can often really enrich our understanding of what is happening and how we might respond.

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.

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.

Course information

Commencement date

You can enrol at any time. About every two months, Coursera starts another round of the course. They will advise you when the course materials are available for you to work on. Visit the Coursera website to enrol.

Instructor

Professor David Pannell is one of Australia’s leading economists working in the area of agriculture, natural resources and environment.

His research includes work on the economics of farming systems, land conservation, farmers’ behaviour, agri-environmental policy, risk in agriculture, weed management, agricultural policy, environmental management and environmental policy.

At the University of Western Australia he is Head of the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Director of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy.

Prerequisites

No prerequisites or prior knowledge needed.

Required text

No required texts. Recommended reading will be provided each week. All will be readily accessible online, or copies of original material will be provided.

Course outline

  • Week 1 – Agricultural production and prices and agriculture?s reliance on natural resources
  • Week 2 – Resource and environmental challenges facing agriculture
  • Week 3 – Economics of agricultural inputs
  • Week 4 – The economics of land conservation
  • Week 5 – The economics of agri-environmental projects
  • Week 6 – Agricultural policies

To see current events and dates, refer to our AgCalendar.

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Study Units

Course outline:

  • Week 1 - Agricultural production and prices and agriculture?s reliance on natural resources
  • Week 2 - Resource and environmental challenges facing agriculture
  • Week 3 - Economics of agricultural inputs
  • Week 4 - The economics of land conservation
  • Week 5 - The economics of agri-environmental projects
  • Week 6 - Agricultural policies
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