Risk and uncertainty have been extensively studied by agricultural economists. In this paper we question (a) the predominant use of static frameworks to formally analyse risk; (b) the predominant focus on risk aversion as the motivation for considering risk and (c) the notion that explicitly probabilistic models are likely to be helpful to farmers in their decision making. We pose the question: for a risk-averse farmer, what is the extra value of a recommendation derived from a model that represents risk aversion, compared to a model based on risk neutrality? The conclusion reached is that for the types of the decision problems most commonly modelled by agricultural economists, the extra value of representing risk aversion is commonly very little. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.