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What Is a Land Footprint?


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Repenning, Abbigail, land footprint 9-26-2015

Published in: Education
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What Is a Land Footprint?

  1. 1. What is a Land Footprint? NPB Pig Production Environmental Calculator A land footprint is the amount of land that is used during creation or development of a product and is based off of real land use. This means that it only accounts for the acres used and not for the gases emitted from the process or activities. Emitted gases are accounted for in the process or product’s “carbon footprint”. A land footprint can be calculated for a barn, home, business, region, or even a nation. In one single operation, land is used for numerous tasks. For instance, in a cattle operation, land is used for grazing, feedlot finishing, grain and forage production, etc. Abigail Repenning, Agricultural Engineering Student, South Dakota State University Tia Muller, Agricultural Engineering Student, South Dakota State University Ashley Schmit, Animal Science Student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Amy Millmier Schmidt, Livestock Bioenvironmental Engineer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Erin Cortus, Agricultural Engineer, South Dakota State University Richard Stowell, Livestock Housing Engineer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator was developed with grant support (#2011-68002-30208) from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. How can I use this information? The National Pork Board’s Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator can be used to estimate the land footprint of swine facilities. The calculator accounts for feed produced and used in the swine system in order to estimate the facility’s land footprint. Individual feed ingredients must be entered into the calculator as each ingredient has unique inputs that dictate the land footprint associated with that specific ingredient.. The calculator returns a cumula- tive value for total ponds of each feed ingredient utilized per year, acres required per pound of ingredient produced, and total acres used for the volume of each ingredient used in the system. Likewise, a cumulative value for total pounds of dry feed utilized per year and total acres used to produce all feed ingredients for the farm. An important value of the land footprint component of the Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator is in the user’s ability to understand the impact of each individual feed ingredient on the system’s land footprint. Likewise, the calculator can be very effective as a tool for determining how a producer might positively impact the operation’s land footprint as it allows the user to make changes to the feed ingredients in the calculator and see how the changes could impact the land footprint of the facility. Environmental footprints are becoming a popular metric by which to judge the sustainability of a process, product, or system. As the world population continues to increase, the agricultural industry must adapt and improve to efficiently address food security concerns. The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator is designed to assist swine operations in understanding and managing their environmental footprint. While total agricultural production will need to increase to provide food for a growing population, improved efficiencies in production practices will continue to evolve to minimize the environmental footprints of individual practices and cumulative systems. The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator and similar tools for calculating the environmental footprints of other production systems will be invaluable in helping producers improve production efficiencies while simultaneously having a positive impact on the sustainability of their practices.