Insights Into the Economic Viability of a New CEA System Producing Hydroponic Lettuce
Ilaslan, Gunes | White, Gerald B. | Langhans, Robert W.
A new CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) system growing Bostonlettuce, Lactuca Sativa cv. ‘Vivaldi’, achieves the same quality and quantity of productionevery day of the year. The year-round constant quantity and quality production indicatepotential for success. However, our research showed that out of nine selected U.S.locations with different climatic and economic conditions, the Northeast had 25.7 percenthigher production costs for the same yield.The analysis indicated that given current prices and costs, CEA hydroponiclettuce production in northern climates such as Ithaca in upstate New York and Chicagois marginal to negative in terms of economic viability. As a result, the question arisesabout the future viability of CEA in areas such as upstate New York and New Englandwhere electricity costs are high and the climate is relatively cold. Many such areas arestruggling with the future viability of agriculture. Thus, this study provides alternativeways to increase the economic viability of this new technology in the Northeast. Theimportance of local production, state level promotion programs and other potentialincentives, and metro farm alternatives are examined. The analysis is applicable to otheragricultural products produced in the Northeast at higher cost than in other locations inthe southern and western United States.Show more [+] Less [-]