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About Us

The Center for Behavioral & Experimental Agri-Environmental Research (CBEAR) was established in 2014, funded through competitive grants from the USDA Economic Research Service (2014-2019) and from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (2019-2023). CBEAR works with program administrators at the USDA and its partners to incorporate behavioral insights into program designs. CBEAR has twice been named a USDA Center of Excellence.

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"Government programs related to agriculture and the environment need to be based on strong science and economics. Evidence-based policy, insights from the behavioral sciences, and randomized controlled trials are the norm in medicine, education, and other policy fields. CBEAR brings this approach to U.S. agri-environmental policy."

KENT MESSER

S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Applied Economics, University of Delaware
Co-Director, CBEAR

Our Mission Statement

Expand sustainable agriculture through quality research, engagement, and training.

OUR CHALLENGE

Ensuring the Future of Agriculture

The average age of an American farmer is approaching 60 years and 100 million acres of farmland is set to change hands over the next five years, a potential nationwide shortage of farmers is a primary problem.

The actions we take over this next decade will define the planet's path over the next century. CBEAR is urgently taking on the barriers that prevent sustainable agriculture.  Our research also seeks to create greater pathways to smart farming practices by creating the evidence of its benefits for communities. What we achieve is just as important as how.  By letting science guide our focus and equity guide our execution, we can shape a better future
for our planet.

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Our Targets

OUR SOLUTION-BASED RESEARCH FOCUSES ON:

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Beginning Farmers

The agricultural industry has substantial barriers to entry. We look for ways to ease this barrier with conservation incentives.

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Historically Underserved

Historically underserved farmers are those that face increased challenges in the agricultural industry due to their income, background, or identity.

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Socially Disadvantaged

Socially disadvantaged farmers are those who have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

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Veteran Farmers

Veteran farmers are beginning farmers who served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.

A Brief History

Established in 2014 through competitive grants from the USDA Economic Research Service (2014-2019) and from the USDA National Institute for Food Agriculture (2019-2023), CBEAR works with program administrators at the USDA and its partners to incorporate behavioral insights into conservation program designs.  CBEAR has twice been named a USDA Center of Excellence. The Center works alongside our programmatic partners and the people they serve to identify and design more effective and equitable approaches. We work with them to strengthen the impact of those approaches. And we work with them to evaluate policies or practices using the highest research standards.

 

Our scientists have an unusual combination of research and organizational experience, with expertise in the latest qualitative and quantitative research methods, data science, behavioral science, culturally responsive practices, and collaborative design and program improvement processes. To disseminate what we learn, we actively engage with policymakers, practitioners, public and private funders, and others to apply the best evidence available to the decisions they are making.