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Abstract

The dramatic changes occurring throughout the agriculture industry are creating an increasingly turbulent business climate for the sector. The objective of this paper is to present a methodology to understand, assess, evaluate, and manage uncertainty. Five methods are discussed: scenario analysis, scorecarding and heat mapping, payoff matrix, decision tree, and options portfolio mapping. Scenario analysis can help identify the alternative futures that may unfold. Scorecarding and heat mapping assessment tools can be used to assess and map the uncertainties, and decide which uncertainties the company should capitalize on and which projects could be pursued to exploit those uncertainties. Payoff matrices and decision trees (using real option valuation) analysis tools can then help make a decision on which project to pursue. Finally, these projects cannot be evaluated in a vacuum. Mapping the portfolio of projects is necessary to make sure the company diversifies the risk. This paper includes an illustration of the methodology by applying the tools to a real life example that has been tested in several executive agribusiness educational workshops. A list of psychological traps to avoid and be mindful of when making decisions in an uncertain environment is also discussed.

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