Optimizing Spatial - Temporal Aspects of Designs for Small-Scale Diverse Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2004: $5,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Bridget Betta Bunzel
Bunzel Organics


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: software
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal summary:

    Organic farmer Bridget Betta Bunzel plans to develop computer software that aids in the design of farmers’ annual plots. Appropriate decision-making during the design phase, with the assistance of computer-generated maps and record keeping, can streamline multiple farming tasks. The software will be developed to find optimal designs using genetic algorithms, which simulate the process of biological evolution to find optimal solutions to problems from a vast number of solutions. Genetic algorithms, which are relatively new in software, evolve slowly toward solutions rather than testing every possible solution. To test the usefulness of the software, Benzel Organics will design annual farming plots as usual then repeat the process using the software, comparing the two designs and improving the software where appropriate. Once developed, the software will be provided free to reach the maximum number of users.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.