Greg Thoma1, Charles Maxwell2, Rick Ulrich1, Marty Matlock3, Jennie Popp1, Karl VanDevender4, Sammy Sadaka5, Thomas Costello3, Scott Radcliffe6, Brian Richert7, Mark Hanigan8, William Salas9 and Changsheng Li10, (1)Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (2)Animal science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (3)Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (4)Chemical Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (5)University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (6)Animal and Poultry Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN (7)Agricultural Extension, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN (8)Dairy science, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA (9)Applied Geosolutions, LLC, Durham, NH (10)Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Swine production systems long have been guided by efforts to increase productivity, decrease costs and minimize environmental impacts. The effects of climate change on society and agricultural production are highly uncertain but almost certainly will challenge our collective ability to manage the livestock revolution – that is increased demand for animal protein globally as a result of growing population and affluence. This work builds on a life-cycle based swine production model funded by the National Pork Board, which allows producers to estimate their operation’s carbon foot print including estimation of the influence of housing design, feed and manure management. This AFRI project will improve understanding of on-farm process and increase our ability to guide policy decisions and effect changes in production practices. This project is extending and providing experimental validation for the swine production model and coupling it with economic analysis. Ultimately, this model will be used as an education and outreach tool for evaluating and managing the environmental footprint of swine production.
We established the following project objectives: 1) experimentally validate the effectiveness of select strategies: dietary modification (reduced nitrogen), health and manure management. 2) expand and enhance our model providing a tool to identify economic production options which minimize GHG emissions and increase sustainability. 3) implement education and outreach programs, linking life cycle analysis, climate and swine science, to foster life cycle thinking in agriculture: understanding the system. We have assembled an interdisciplinary team from Arkansas, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and Applied Geosolutions to perform experimental work, develop models/software tools, provide training/guidance to facilitate the use of these tools by farmers across the USA. We will train and inspire undergraduate researchers, through a summer research program, to become future leaders in sustainable agriculture. This integrated research/education/extension project addresses mitigation, adaptation, education and outreach goals for swine production systems.