|Abstract or Summary
- The farmers of the Columbia Plateau region of Oregon, as well as other individuals and groups, have expressed a desire for information on the economic feasibility of irrigated farming in their area. This recent interest in irrigation is a result of reduced lifts and lower pumping costs brought about by the construction of The Dalles, John Day and McNary Dams, the appearance of alternative uses for Columbia River water, and the introduction of new crops. Linear programming models were developed for farms of four different sizes to determine if enough additional income would be produced by irrigation to pay for its added costs. Profit maximization was assumed to be the goal of the farm operator, realizing that other goals are undoubtedly involved. The resources of interest for this study include land, labor, water, operating capital, and management. The MVPs or shadow prices found by the models identified the restricting resources for each respective farm, thereby providing some hints about the most efficient use of additional resources. It was assumed that a large amount of the cultural practices necessary for crop production would be custom hired, which reduced the quantity of labor needed for the production of the various crops selected by the models. Other assumptions included; better than average management, successful production of crops selected by the models, contracts or other marketing arrangements for the sale of these products at given prices, and the availability of labor, water, and operating capital at the levels used by the model farms. The results of this study, based on the linear programming models, indicate that irrigation may be profitable for some farms in this area. The model farms returned gross profits of from 55.50 to 150 dollars per acre as a return to irrigation and management. However, to enable these farms to cover the costs of relatively expensive irrigation systems it is necessary that they raise some high income producing horticultural crops. While some of these crops have been grown here, there are horticulturists that question whether such crops can be widely produced in this area. Many technical production problems remain to be solved before these crops can be produced extensively. The availability of capital for investment and operating purposes presents another problem when these high income producing crops are raised. Although irrigation appears to be profitable under certain circumstances, it is evident that many economic and technical problems remain to be solved.