4.2.1 Modelling: Model chains

Icône de l'outil pédagogique Author

Marcel Adenauer

Icône de l'outil pédagogique How Farmers behavior can impact on EU market prices

The SEAMLESS Integrated Framework (SEAMLESS-IF) is developed to support assessments of policies affecting sustainability of agricultural systems. This goal is partly addressed by linking models and thereby bridging economic and biophysical spheres as well as smaller with larger scales. The fascinating challenge of SEAMLESS-IF is the concrete implementation of the model links. They will provide the unique opportunity to consistently connect farm level behavior and its differentiated economic and environmental consequences with agricultural markets and market policies.




Farms are the basic decision making units in agricultural production, and therefore impact on land use, their environment and market outcomes. The characteristics of farms and the behavior of their operators vary a lot across Europe. In the picture above we find two exemplary farmers from a region in France. The upper one seems to be more progressive and dynamic than the one on the bottom who is a cool-headed old fashioned guy. They also work under different agro-environmental conditions like different soil types, rainfall patterns or landscape. The behaviour of farm types similar to our two farmers (and a few other farmers) are modelled by the FSSIM models (Farm System Simulator) which simulate responses of farmers with respect to land use and production levels to changes in prices or policy support. The biophysical model APES (Agricultural Production and Externalities Simulator) provides the information on environmental impacts of various farming activities. The aggregated response from these farmers may have significant market impacts, and hence in turn influence agricultural commodity prices. SEAMLESS-IF will contain farm models for about 25 European regions, capturing most of the variance of conditions and farm characteristics across Europe. From these 25 regions a further model component (EXPAMOD) extrapolates the supply behaviour to the entire EU25 using a statistical approach. The agricultural sector model CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact analysis) then adopts this supply behavior and finds a new market equilibrium on EU and international markets for agricultural products. Final farm behavior will then be simulated using the new equilibrium prices to assess their impact on European farms.

The linkage of the models APES, FSSIM, EXPAMOD and CAPRI is called the Backbone Model Chain as it contains the core feedbacks across scales and disciplines providing important indicators by themselves, but also allowing linking other modules and indicators which require consistent solution of these models. A more schematic representation of their linkage is given in Figure 1.



Figure 1. Linkage between models in SEAMLESS-IF.



Icône de l'outil pédagogique References and further reading
  1. Flichman, G., Donatelli, M., Louhichi, K., Romstad, E., Heckelei, T., Auclair, D., Garvey, E., van Ittersum, M.K., Janssen, S.J.C., Elbersen, B.S., 2006. Quantitative models of SEAMLESS-IF and procedures for up- and downscaling. Report no. 17, SEAMLESS integrated project, EU 6th Framework Programme (www.seamless-ip.org/Reports/Report_17_PD1.3.2.pdf).

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