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Abstract

Linear programming has long been used as a tool in agricultural planning. This paper presents and discusses a technique that can be used in conjunction with linear programming to evaluate 'nearly optimal' solutions. This technique is referred to as Nearly Optimal Linear Programming or Modelling to Generate Alternatives (MGA). MGA allows planners to incorporate important objectives that are difficult to include in a mathematical model by identifying and evaluating alternative 'nearly optimal' solutions. Some of these alternative solutions may be consistent with the goals or objectives of decision makers. To date, MGA has received little use in addressing agricultural planning problems. A micro-level application of MGA, concerning a dairy ration formulation problem, is presented to demonstrate the relevance of MGA to agricultural planning by decision makers. Within this application, the use of MGA to complement and enhance normal linear programming analysis is also discussed.

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