Resilient Pork Production

The complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory is a new and promising tool to analyse and understand agricultural systems. CAS offers the possibility to combine technical and social system views, which is higly relevant for animal systems, as they are built up from biological and social structures, which highly interact. A characteristic phenomenon of CAS's is their being built up from building blocks ('agents'), a diverse population of elements a a general kind which are adaptive in nature and (thus) show mutual variation. Agent Based Modelling is a tool which allows building models of such interacting agents. For our animal prodouction domain, typical agents are the kept animals (with their mutual interactions) and farmers, but also lower level systems can be modelled such as pathogens. Within the IP/OP program Complex Adaptive systems, the dynamics of the pork proeuction system, as responding to developments in society and technology are analysed and modelled.

The dynamics of the Dutch pork production system are modelled from a CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) perspective. The CAS-approach is promising as it offers the opportunity to combine social science concepts with technical approaches. In the Respork program, a PhD project models the dynamics of pig behaviour as a function of the mutual interactions between animals, as influenced by housing and management; another PhD project models the behaviour of farmers as a fucntion of changes in market, technology and society. Both PhD-projects use Agent Based Modelling as a model building tool for this. In an overarching project, interactions in society and chain (expressions in the public media and interactions between institutional representatives in the so called innovation arena) are analysed and modelled. The combination of these three projects offers insight into the mechnismes of systems changes and offers tools to influence such developments (innovation management).