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Strategic planning is increasingly being adapted by agricultural research, development and extension organisations. Strategic decisions require an assessment of the future and, in particular, the likelihood of growth in industries. Normally this is conducted descriptively with little quantitative analysis and often without involvement from economists. There are many tools available which help to provide information about the future, mathematical programming (MP) being one of them. This paper demonstrates the use of MP to analyse scenarios. Expert groups estimated scenarios for prices and productivity changes which they considered plausible over the next 10 years. The MP model, MIDAS, was used to generate the optimal mix of enterprises and levels of crop and livestock production consistent with these scenarios for typical broad acre crop/livestock farms in different regions of Western Australia. Results are presented and the strengths and weaknesses of this approach are discussed.


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