FarmAgriPoliS is an interactive game which simulates the development of an agricultural region made up of farms. In the game, the player manages one of the farms while the computer takes over the decisions of all the other farms.
FarmAgriPoliS was developed for research purposes within the framework of the DFG-funded research group "Structural Change in Agriculture (SiAg)" in order to investigate the decision-making behavior of farmers and other groups such as students of agricultural economics in an experimental way. As part of a grant from the Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, it has been further developed so that anyone can use it as an agricultural business management game.
In this game, you take over the management of a farm in an agricultural region and compete with the computer-controlled neighboring companies which aim to maximise next year's earnings. Each farm is already equipped with a certain amount of land (owned and leased), machinery, and buildings. Your job is to run your business for up to 20 gaming years. Over the course of a game year, the following decisions must be made:
- How much land should be leased?
- In which stables and facilities should investments be made?
- Which prices can be expected?
- Should you exit agricultural production and work off-farm?
During the game, you will always receive advice on how the computer would decide. However, the final decisions are yours. Every decision has an influence on the further development of the business and ultimately on the business assets. In addition to information about the economic situation, you can also access information about the farms and the region in the corresponding menus.
Usually the game is over after 20 game-years of play. It ends sooner if your operation becomes illiquid or you choose to give up your business. If you decide to exit agricultural production, the game continues. You will then receive wages from non-agricultural work, payments for leased property, and interest payments for good investments in the remaining years of the game. This is offset against the remaining debt and then added to the business assets.
The farms and agricultural regions shown in FarmAgriPoliS are based on farm-specific and structural data from real existing agricultural regions in Germany (eg FADN, KTBL). With the help of this data, characteristic farms are defined and weighted for the respective study region in order to map the agricultural structure of the regions as accurately as possible in the model. The Altmark served as a model for the region shown in FarmAgriPoliS. This is located in the north of Saxony-Anhalt and is composed of the two counties, Stendal and the Altmark Salzwedel. The Altmark is home to about 40% of the dairy cows and 53% of the specialized dairy cattle farms in Saxony-Anhalt. The share of grassland in the Altmark is high for Saxony-Anhalt, at 26.4%. Animal production is dominated by large stocks. Fattening pigs are mainly kept in herds of more than 1,000 and dairy cattle in herds of 100 to 200 or more than 500 animals. Also in terms of farm size in hectares, the large-scale structures of the Altmark are reflected. Although most farms can be found in the size classes between 0 to 30 ha and 200 to 500 ha. However, most of the land is farmed by farms with more than 500 ha. Crop, mixed, and dairy farms manage about 68% of the area and are thus dominant. By contrast, pure processing companies play only a minor role.
FarmAgriPoliS offers you an information page for each program window, which briefly summarises what happens in each step of the game and what decisions you can make. Detailed and further information can be found in the help menu.