The purpose of this study was to utilize the economic surplus framework for evaluating the impact of investment in agricultural research. The economic impact measures used in this study were the total benefits and distribution of those benefits associated with investment in agricultural research. These results were used to calculate an internal rate of return on the investments. The focus of the research was on cotton and peanuts in the Southeast region of the United States. Two equations were estimated to determine the impacts of the money being spent on the research efforts of these two commodities. The results revealed positive benefits to consumers and producers exceeded the investment amount in each year for both commodities in the period. The total social benefits averaged about 201 million (1982) dollars annually for cotton research. Peanut research averaged about 191 million (1982) dollars resulting form research investment. The internal rates of return were 23.87 percent for cotton and 53.58 percent for peanuts, suggesting that past research investments produced a high return to society. This result does not conflict the results of other similar studies as those mentioned in the literature review.