Keywords: farm planning, bilevel linear programming, BLP, nitrate sensitive areas, NSAs, agri–environmental schemes, AESs, rural development, modelling, farming, agriculture, nitrates, production planning, fertiliser use, Greece, simulation, farm gross margin
Farm planning in nitrate sensitive agricultural areas
One of the main aims of the Rural Development Plan under the EU Common Agricultural Policy is the protection of nitrate sensitive areas through agri–environmental schemes. This paper presents a mathematical programming model for farm planning in agricultural areas that are sensitive to nitrates. A bilevel linear programming (BLP) model is developed, that can achieve the optimal farm production plan assuming two conflicting goals: the maximisation of farm gross margin and the minimisation of fertilisers' use. The first goal is pursued by farmers, and comprises the first level of BLP. The second goal is pursued by society, through the government, and comprises the second level of BLP. The model is applied to an agricultural area in Northern Greece, which belongs to the nitrate sensitive areas scheme of the Greek Rural Development Plan 2007–2013. The model is further used to simulate the impacts of the measure under two scenarios proposed for farms located in nitrate sensitive areas. The result shows that the model can achieve the two goals set by increasing gross margin and reducing fertilisers use.