Development of Rural Areas"
A description of the game
Agriculture is much more than deciding what crop to plant and when. It
is a world filled with complexities and a wide array of economic, social, and
environmental concerns and relationships. In short, it is a world of decisions and
The game was developed to help students, scholars local government
officials, community groups, agency personnel, or conservation districts to learn about
agricultural land-use issues. Through 20 years of farming and policy making, participants
experience the economic, environmental and social consequences of their decisions.
The game is built around a simulation model that mimics the way humans
interact with each other and with the physical environment. Simulations are used in many
business and education settings to explore the workings of complex systems and to
anticipate impacts of system manipulation.
In the game people try to improve their well-being by choosing from
among actions, subject to their opportunities and constraints. Farmers select land use
practices in order to increase net family income, subject to the physical, economic, and
legal setting within which they operate. Policy makers select payments, taxes, and
regulations subject to the council's fiscal capacity, the expected outcomes of the desired
practices, and the physical conditions of the land and water environment.
All players seek to establish and maintain a pattern of farmland
management that leads to desired levels of farm income, water quality, and environmental
health. The policies that the council adjusts can be thought of as those parts of the
legal and economic environment that influences the farmland management choices of farmers.
Following the game, a "debriefing" provides opportunity for
rich group discussion about problems and events that occurred and factors that were
responsible for them; the extent to which these occur in real life situations; changes
that could have been made which might have avoided or solved the most serious