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Land 2018, 7(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7030109

Modelling Farm Growth and Its Impact on Agricultural Land Use: A Country Scale Application of an Agent-Based Model

1
Department of Geography, UNamur, rue de Bruxelles 61, 5000 Namur, Belgium
2
Geography and Tourism Research Group, Department Earth and Environmental Science, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3
NVISO, Sinter-Goedelevoorplein 5 Parvis Sainte-Gudule, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
4
Département de Géography, Université de Liège, Quartier Village 4, Clos Mercator 3—B11, 4000 Liège, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
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Abstract

The ongoing economic pressure on farmers has resulted in lower gross margins, lower income, and a continuous decrease in the number of farmers in large parts of the world. Most remaining farmers upscale their activities by taking over the land of their former competitors, resulting in a decrease in agricultural employment and an increase in average farm size, accompanied by specialisation and new management techniques. Understanding these significant trends and their impact on the land use and environment requires a deeper knowledge of the mechanisms involved and the impacts of different policy measures. These processes are ideally represented through agent-based modelling. Currently, agent-based models are rarely for larger regions. This paper presents ADAM (Agricultural Dynamics through Agent-based Modelling), using it for the case study of Belgium. ADAM was created to obtain insights in past and current agricultural trends and to explore possible effects of policy measures. ADAM simulates the evolution of a farmer population and their farms at a fine scale on the country level. It produces yearly outputs on the number of farms, their size, and the type of farming activity on every parcel. Results show that ADAM is capable of adequately modelling a farmer population according to past trends and that it can be used to explore the results of a business-as-usual scenario, therefore showing the possibility of creating agent-based models for larger scale real-world applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; agent-based modelling; real-world application; agricultural dynamics; farmer population; farm evolution; ADAM model; country scale agriculture; agent-based modelling; real-world application; agricultural dynamics; farmer population; farm evolution; ADAM model; country scale
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Beckers, V.; Beckers, J.; Vanmaercke, M.; Van Hecke, E.; Van Rompaey, A.; Dendoncker, N. Modelling Farm Growth and Its Impact on Agricultural Land Use: A Country Scale Application of an Agent-Based Model. Land 2018, 7, 109.

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