AgEcon Search Overview and History


AgEcon Search: Research in Agricultural and Applied Economics collects, indexes, and electronically distributes full text copies of scholarly research in the broadly defined field of agricultural and applied economics including sub disciplines such as agribusiness, food security and supply, energy and natural resource economics, environmental economics, policy issues, international trade, and economic development. Content includes conference presentations, working papers, journal articles, government documents, and theses and dissertations.

AgEcon Search is a non-profit subject repository co-sponsored by the Department of Applied Economics and the University Libraries at University of Minnesota, operating with guidance from an international Advisory Board and partners including:

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
  • Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society
  • European Association of Agricultural Economists
  • Farm Foundation
  • Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • International Association of Agricultural Economists
  • USDA Economic Research Service
  • AgEcon Search serves as the permanent archive for this literature, providing stewardship, reliable long-term access, and broad dissemination of the digital scholarly and administrative works of agricultural and applied economics researchers worldwide.


    AgEcon Search began in 1995 as an experiment to see if it were possible to use the internet to archive, index and deliver on demand, full text working papers produced by university agricultural economics departments. The first papers were from agricultural economics departments at Minnesota and Wisconsin. These early papers predated the World Wide Web and were mounted on a GOPHER server in WordPerfect format. The project was (and still is) a cooperative project of the University of Minnesota Libraries, the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). The Farm Foundation and the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided financial support in the beginning of the project. Librarians Patricia Rodkewich and Louise Letnes managed AgEcon Search until Patricia's retirement in 2001, when Julie Kelly joined the AgEcon Search team. Linda Eells joined Julie as co-coordinator when Louise retired in 2011. Erik Biever also served on the original AgEcon Search team, providing valued technical services and guidance.

    Since its inception AgEcon Search has operated as a distributed network, with each institution designating a member of their organization to submit papers on their behalf. With this model, costs for maintaining the system were kept low and institutions do not have to pay membership fees for participation. In the cases where an institution had no central person to act as the network member, a fee has been charged for AgEcon Search staff to submit papers. The first organization to choose this option was the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), which since 1997 has been contracting with AgEcon Search to post its annual conference papers.

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