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Optimal Ag
Logo Optimal Livestock LLC

The Ag Survivor simulation program is a software tool developed by the RightRisk Education Team to teach risk concepts and management strategies to agricultural producers in an experiential learning environment. This educational program lets producers test firsthand whether they are better off implementing newly learned risk management tools and strategies, like the SRMP.

With Ag Survivor, a manager can compare a current strategy for selling grain to other standardized risk management strategies that you will learn about in the SRMP. For example, the safety first method picks the best average performing management system that meets a minimum standard. A producer might eliminate from consideration any practices that have more than a 20 percent chance of a loss. Armed with this experience, producers can explore how they might use various risk management tools to better achieve their goals.

Ag Survivor scenarios present complicated and, sometimes, confusing risk RightRisk Simulation Lab management subject matters in an easily understood format by fully engaging workshop attendees in a hands-on farm or ranch simulation. In RightRisk workshops, participants are using Ag Survivor scenarios to test pricing or marketing alternatives, looking at how much feed to keep in inventory, analyzing the implications of maintaining ownership of weaned animals, and experimenting with the purchase of insurance products.

Through friendly team competition at workshops we offer around the West, and interaction with trained RightRisk instructors, participants are able to experience a unique, interactive learning environment conducive to producing long-term growth in decision making skills. RightRisk workshop participants are put in the role of a farm or ranch manager and asked to make decisions for the operation over a one- or multi-year time span in a simulated environment. This creates an energetic and interactive group learning experience with many teachable moments. The discussions that take place within management teams as decisions are being made add tremendous value to the workshop experience.

Likewise, the discussions that take place between management teams as they compare their team performances create some interesting and lively conversations. Workshop participants are typically highly engaged and eager to repeat the experience.

Ag Survivor scenarios use real probabilities and impacts to depict risks. With this information, participants are making risk management decisions for the operation as it progresses through several decision making periods. In each period, a click of the button determines the random outcomes and moves the management team forward in time with updated prices, yield estimates, and inventories, among other information.

By the end of the simulation, each team will have progressed through one or more production years with the representative farm or ranch. Along the way, each management team will have experienced the same prices, yields, and other factor as the other management teams, but will have distinguished themselves by their unique set of inputted decisions. This provides the basis for a lively, slightly competitive conversation about who did the best.

Ag Survivor provides the platform for the participants to use several different measures to estimate the value of their decision making strategies. In a lot of ways, a single run through the simulation time period represents a combination of decision making strategy and the luck of the draw. It provides a good starting point but, with the click of a button, the Ag Survivor software can run the model 100 times using random draws and add considerable depth to the conversation. Output from these repeated runs include graphical measures such as bar graphs and statistical measures such as mean, high, low, variance and other factors that help the user to differentiate their luck from a single run from the overall worth of their strategy.

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