Economic Evaluation -- Texas Tech University  

A County Level Analysis of the Cost and Benefit of Implementing a RIFA Control Program to Agricultural Crop Producers and Electric Utilities in Texas

Principal Investigator:
David B. Willis
Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409
Phone: 806/742-0277; Fax 806/742-1099

Funding Amount/2 Years: $93,000

Relevance/Implication of Project:
A major goal of the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research Initiative is to develop cost-effective methods for reducing statewide red imported fire ant (RIFA) damages on economy. Previous research at Texas Tech University has conservatively estimated that statewide RIFA damages annually cost the electric utility industry $153 million and agricultural crop producers another $47 million. However, implementing a statewide cost-effective control program, which maximizes the net benefit to the state, requires knowledge of the spatial distribution of control cost and the economic benefit of control for each RIFA quarantined counties within the state.

Summary of Work to be Done:
This new project is designed to extend and refine previous research regarding the economic damage of RIFA to the state. Agricultural crop producers and electric utility companies will be surveyed in a county level analysis to refine RIFA damages in these two economic sectors in each RIFA quarantined county. This research will extend prior research by estimating the economic benefit of RIFA control in each RIFA infested county for existing control technologies and promising new control technologies. Control cost budgets will be developed for existing control technologies and promising new control technologies. The findings of this research will be used to identify the most cost-effective RIFA control technologies, as well as, identify, counties where the net benefit of RIFA control is positive with respect to the agricultural crop production and/or the electric utility sectors of the economy.