Farming innovation system: Agent-based modelling of farmers’ social and economics decision-making regarding novel farm designs

This project investigates the emergent effect at sector level of pig farmers’ behaviours regarding the adoption of novel, sustainable housing systems. The method is based on a complex adaptive systems perspective. It involves creating a series of agent-based models of increasing sophistication, and testing them in a case study using data from pig farmers and the Swine innovation centre Sterksel.

The study’s scope includes breeding-, fattening- and combined farms. The study assumes that farmers rely not only on economic reasoning but also on normative reasoning (notions about ‘proper farming’) as influenced by other farmers, other sector actors, and outside actors. Social facilitation by imitation is also seen as a possible motivator of adoption of new housing systems.