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Animal Production Systems: Synthesis of Methods to Determine Triple Bottom Line Sustainability from Findings of Reductionist Research

Hebert, Paulette; Kang, Miyoung
Oklahoma State University
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Engage collaborators from the needed broad range of disciplines, institutions, and stakeholder groups to catalyze conceptual and quantitative synthesis, collaboration, and data sharing Facilitate organization, synthesis, and integration of component-based research findings and supporting data and Discover (or reveal), substantiate, and interpret the broader impacts of component-level modifications to animal-production systems.
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As a result of population growth and increases in caloric intake associated with increasing income to expend on food, food demand is expected to increase by 70% by year 2050. The demand for animal protein is expected to outpace the growth in total food consumption. However, at the same time, the quantity and quality of available land, fresh water, and energy resources are declining. Furthermore, consumers increasingly want to know how their food is produced, and as they learn, their evolving product preferences create demand for different production practices with respect to (for example) food safety, nutrition, animal welfare, and environmental protection. Balancing accelerating global demand for animal protein with finite production resources, vulnerable environments and ecosystems, economic viability of allied industries and surrounding communities, and social acceptance of food-production practices requires an approach unlike what has been used in the past. Results from reductionist research that addressed individual or isolated components of livestock- and poultry-production systems must now be integrated in ways that reflect the complexity of the systems as a whole.

Provide opportunities for regular interaction among project participants and exposure to new ideas and thought provocateurs through a no-cost webinar series. Establish a Virtual Dialog Network (VDN) that assembles membership quarterly throughout the project period and exposes project participants to work conducted by the membership as well as ideas and work from scientists that are not part of the formal membership as a way of establishing collaborative connections and catalyzing creative thought. Develop and implement an annual meeting format to foster substantive collaboration. Annual face-to-face meeting time will be utilized to further the progress on project deliverables. Design, and find a host for, a publicly accessible database for sharing peer-reviewed, published project data that facilitates integration of system components. Sharing ideas and data is at the heart of collaborative research and development and this project team will develop a database design to support this collaboration. Progressively refine a modeling framework, from the conceptual to the quantitative, that describes the relationships between (a) increasing demand for animal protein produced in the United States and (b) the social, economic, and environmental subsystems that sustain animal-protein production for the long term. Learn and adapt analytic and synthetic approaches from new bodies of knowledge to integrate process-based research findings into the system framework developed Build a dynamic, system-level, modular, simulation-modeling framework to project the concurrent flows of mass, energy, money, and various other fundamental currencies within our TBL-sustainability domain. Perform dynamic simulation of subsystems to evaluate effects of newly specified causal linkages, research findings, and policy options.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Food Defense and Integrity
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