ommon Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures pursue objectives such as supporting farm incomes, increasing competitiveness or promoting the sustainable management of natural resources. The objectives and associated measures address and influence many different components (e.g. farms, natural resources) and actors of the entire agricultural, environmental and food system. Various methods and models can be used to assess the effects of changes in agricultural policy framework conditions and measures as well as other influencing factors in the agricultural sector and to draw conclusions about possible consequences. Depending on the question, an economic analysis can be carried out at different levels (e.g. farm, regional or sectoral level). Examples of possible questions are the effects of agricultural policy measures on land use and farm income as well as the environmental effects that can be derived from them or the identification of determinants of farm decisions (e.g. participation in agri-environmental measures). Other factors (e.g. climate change, price volatilities, market structures or competition in upstream or downstream sectors) can also be taken into account in the corresponding models or require analysis using other models and methods.
Due to the objectives of the European "Green Deal" with the "Farm to Fork" and the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, as well as the fact that this basic project of the BAB is now part of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Systems, the focus of the project is now shifting: on the one hand, topics at the interface between agriculture and the environment are to be addressed in particular, and on the other hand, a more systemic perspective for identifying and analyzing complex interrelationships will be incorporated into the project.
The aim of the project is to create a project-specific database by combining different data sources and to develop suitable models (with possible model linkages) in order to be able to carry out various economic analyses based on this, in particular on issues at the interface between agriculture and the environment. In addition, systemic approaches should also be taken into account in the project where possible in order to ensure the most comprehensive approach possible when dealing with the issues. Finally, the framework of the project should continue to offer the opportunity for ongoing project work that draws on models and methods - even if their focus is different from that mentioned above (e.g. on spatial competition between food processing companies). The project work is therefore carried out within the framework of various sub-areas.
Status of the project
The completed work includes, for example, a comparison of farms by means of efficiency analysis and the adaptation of the farm optimization model FAMOS of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (Schmid, 2004) for data of the farms keeping accounts and for the analysis of the effects of certain CAP reforms on Austrian agriculture (CAP reform 2003, milk quota regulation, Health Check; see the completed projects AWI/155/06 and A-WI/160/07).
Work is currently underway in the following areas:
For analyses of possible economic effects of changes in agricultural policy measures or the influence of other factors (e.g. price volatilities) on farms, work has begun on setting up a project-specific database and developing an optimization model (mathematical programming method) for use at a regional or individual farm level. Ongoing activities in this context include in particular the development of the database from numerous data sources (e.g. INVEKOS data, farm accounting data, data bases from contribution margin calculations (see project BAB 015/10 "Contribution margins and data bases for farm planning" on interactive contribution margins, IDB, and project AWI/176/15 "ADAPT-CATMILK"), data from Statistics Austria, from the literature) and the consolidation of data on defined agricultural activities across the respective data sources (see also project BAB 045/20 "COVID-19 Lessons learned" - work package 4 "Regional demand for inputs in Austrian agriculture"), the processing of information on agri-environmental measures, literature research, further training (methodology, software packages such as GAMS, R). (methodology, software packages such as GAMS, R) and model development, the creation of model documentation, etc.
In a further sub-area, the results of theoretical models on spatial competition in markets such as the raw milk market (e.g. Tribl, 2012; Tribl and Salhofer, 2013; see also the completed project AWI/158/06) are examined in collaboration with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) using econometric models and data for e.g. Germany and Austria. The focus is on the analysis of the "yardstick of competition" hypothesis, according to which (in the context of competition between food processing companies) cooperative processors can weaken the market power of non-cooperative processors vis-à-vis farmers in such a "mixed market". Initial empirical results on spatial competition between milk processors in a mixed market for southern Germany were presented at scientific conferences in 2017 and 2021 (see Tribl, Morawetz and Salhofer, 2017). Furthermore, together with the BOKU and the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) in Halle (Saale), a literature review on spatial economics was compiled and published in a scientific journal (see Graubner, Salhofer and Tribl, 2021).
Work on the project-specific database will continue in 2024: In the database, data from various data sources will be merged and harmonized, in particular individual farm data (accounting data, INVEKOS data), IDB data as well as data and (e.g. environmental) indicators in connection with measures of the Austrian agri-environmental programme ÖPUL or with the CAP Strategic Plan as well as measures (e.g. ÖPUL measures) for models and methods. The focus is initially on activities in the field of arable farming. In addition, methods and models (econometric models, optimization models, etc.) are to be developed or further developed in order to create a basis for the analysis of future research questions together with the database. Examples include questions on the possible effects of various influences on the operational decisions of farmers, on the explanation of their operational decisions or on the assessment of the environmental effects of operational decisions such as land use or management practices. It is also planned to take into account systemic analyses and considerations, e.g. with regard to the identification and analysis of synergy effects or conflicting objectives, in the questions and their processing.
Where possible, the results of other BAB projects should also be used (and vice versa in some cases), e.g. Work in connection with the evaluation of agricultural policy measures and programs, the projects AWI/54/16 W and BAB 018/19 "Quantitative yields from organic farming", BAB 184/18 "CAP after 2020", BAB 015/10 "Contribution margins and data bases for farm planning", AWI/176/15 "ADAPT-CATMILK", BAB 045/20 "COVID-19 lessons learned" - work package 4 "Regional demand for inputs in Austrian agriculture", BAB 003/86 "Economic studies and advice in connection with OECD and WTO" or BAB 056/22 "Systemic considerations in the agricultural, environmental and food sector". The work within the framework of the project is also to be coordinated in the best possible way with that of the project BAB 040/20 "Biophysical processes of agricultural land use in Austria" for a more comprehensive economic-ecological approach and mutually utilized.
The work on spatial competition in cooperation with BOKU is to be continued in 2024. It is planned to present the results of this work at further scientific events and to publish them in scientific journals.