Integrated analysis for agricultural management strategies

May 4 to May 8, 2015

at the

American Institute of Mathematics, San Jose, California

organized by

Katie Fowler, Lea Jenkins, and Shawn Matott

Original Announcement

This workshop will be devoted to the development of mathematical models to aid agricultural entities and water policy boards in the management of water resources.

Recent water crises in the agriculture intensive states of California and Kansas have highlighted the need for more effective strategies for managing resources needed for farming. For instance, recent studies on California agriculture estimate losses of nearly 1 billion dollars per year for 2015 and 2016, based on current and predicted weather patterns. Without changes to current water management strategies, the Kansas region is projected to experience almost complete aquifer depletion and significantly reduced agricultural production. Therefore, it is apparent that new management strategies need to be considered on both farm and regional scales. In particular, there is a need to develop flexible frameworks to analyze various strategies for dealing with resource limitations, especially in the face of climate change. The frameworks must incorporate the perspectives of all stakeholders in a given region, including farmers, residents, environmental agencies, policy makers, and future generations. Approaching this problem requires a collaborative effort between applied mathematicians with expertise in geophysical systems simulation, optimization, statistics and probability along with hydrologists, economists, and members of the farming community.

To this end, we have identified three major areas in which a collaborative effort is needed to make progress and advance the field:

  1. identification of primary objectives that realistically represent the concerns of all members of the community;
  2. incorporation of uncertainty and trade-offs into decision-making models;
  3. integration and development of the necessary mathematical models and numerical and optimization algorithms needed to simulate and analyze the models.
The broader impact of this work will strengthen the ties between members of the scientific community and practitioners to facilitate the use of these predictive tools for both refinement and actual implementation.

In this workshop, we propose to gather a team of researchers in different areas to tackle these agri-resource and agri-business decision making problems. The researchers will be chosen based on their expertise in several distinct areas: agricultural economics, water resource simulation and allocation, statistical methodologies, and optimization. A fully integrated analysis for agricultural management will require, in part, information on supply and demand models, pricing models, cost structures, resource availability, plant dynamics, and farming and environmental objectives. Each of these components is necessarily stochastic in nature, requiring effective solution strategies to incorporate non-deterministic models.

The main topics for the workshop are

  1. the development of objectives and model components that accurately and realistically measure the concerns of a variety of stakeholders, including farmers, policy makers, area residents, and industry;
  2. the development of multi-level mathematical models to support agricultural decisions under environmental and market uncertainty;
  3. the development and use of numerical algorithms to simulate and analyze the actions of agricultural and environmental policy decision-makers.

Material from the workshop

A list of participants.

A report on the workshop activities.

Papers arising from the workshop:

Development and use of mathematical models and software frameworks for integrated analysis of agricultural systems and associated water use impacts
by  K.R. Fowler, E.W. Jenkins, M. Parno, J.C. Chrispell, A.I. Colon and R.T. Hanson