A generic bio-economic farm model for environmental and economic assessment of agricultural systems

Environ Manage. 2010 Dec;46(6):862-77. doi: 10.1007/s00267-010-9588-x. Epub 2010 Nov 28.


Bio-economic farm models are tools to evaluate ex-post or to assess ex-ante the impact of policy and technology change on agriculture, economics and environment. Recently, various BEFMs have been developed, often for one purpose or location, but hardly any of these models are re-used later for other purposes or locations. The Farm System Simulator (FSSIM) provides a generic framework enabling the application of BEFMs under various situations and for different purposes (generating supply response functions and detailed regional or farm type assessments). FSSIM is set up as a component-based framework with components representing farmer objectives, risk, calibration, policies, current activities, alternative activities and different types of activities (e.g., annual and perennial cropping and livestock). The generic nature of FSSIM is evaluated using five criteria by examining its applications. FSSIM has been applied for different climate zones and soil types (criterion 1) and to a range of different farm types (criterion 2) with different specializations, intensities and sizes. In most applications FSSIM has been used to assess the effects of policy changes and in two applications to assess the impact of technological innovations (criterion 3). In the various applications, different data sources, level of detail (e.g., criterion 4) and model configurations have been used. FSSIM has been linked to an economic and several biophysical models (criterion 5). The model is available for applications to other conditions and research issues, and it is open to be further tested and to be extended with new components, indicators or linkages to other models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Agriculture / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Environment
  • Environmental Policy
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Economic*