Our Mission: Develop evidence-based agricultural programs that change human behaviors in ways that benefit the environment and society.

Our Goals: Using insights from the behavioral sciences and experimental evaluation designs, CBEAR identifies how agricultural programs can be made:

  • More attractive to farmers and landowners.
  • More effective in encouraging the adoption of sound conservation practices.
  • More likely to bring about the environmental improvements that everyone wants.

The Center for Behavioral & Experimental Agricultural Research (CBEAR) is a consortium of major land grant and research universities. It was created in 2014 with funding from the USDA Economic Research Service and is currently supported by USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and other partners interested in evidence-based agricultural and environmental programs.


CBEAR engages an active coalition of internationally recognized researchers in behavioral science and agricultural policy research. CBEAR has four primary inter-related objectives:

(1) To develop opportunities for program administrators and behavioral scientists to identify how applications of behavioral science can improve program performance, landowner satisfaction, and agri-environmental outcomes while reducing program costs. To provide evidence of the cost-effectiveness of these applications, CBEAR encourages the use of randomized controlled trials in agri-environmental programs.

(2) To conduct behavioral research on agri-environmental policy using experimental and behavioral economics techniques, including lab and field experiments.

(3) Expand and enhance the human capital, within academic and among practitioners, for generating high-quality evidence about improving agricultural programs.

(4) Disseminate research in a manner accessible to program administrators and policy makers through direct outreach efforts, publication of digital and online materials, and outreach to media outlets.

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