Animal Agriculture and Climate Change

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Food-water-energy nexus

Case Studies

Farmer Perspectives on Adapting to Extreme Weather

Anaerobic Digesters – Benefits and Feasibility

Carbon Footprinting Tools & Models for Farmers and Advisers

    • Pig production environmental footprinting tool- National Pork Board. This process model is used as input to life cycle assessment to evaluate cradle-to-farm-gate environmental impacts of swine production; and an economic analysis model that incorporates both process based results (live animal weight, feed, fuel, etc.) and LCA results (GHG emissions) to model the cost and potential of different options for reducing GHG emissions in swine production. This model is undergoing updates through an extensive research project looking at diet, health, manure management, and other factors.
    • Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) – is a tool for evaluating environmental and economic effects of different farm management scenarios. The user enters information on cropping practices, facilities, equipment, the herd and other farm parameters. Sample farms of various sizes and types are provided with the model software to provide a starting point. Information generated by the model includes crop yields, feed production and use, animal production, manure handled, production costs and net return to management. The model’s environmental outputs include average annual soil balances of N, P, K and C, erosion of sediment, P runoff, nitrate leaching, emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and greenhouse gases, and the carbon footprint of the feed, animal weight or milk produced.
    • Dairy Gas Emissions Model (DairyGEM)
      The Dairy Gas Emission Model (DairyGEM) is an educational tool that predicts ammonia and hydrogen sulfide volatilization, GHG emissions, and the carbon footprint of the milk produced. DairyGEM is used to study the interacting effects of management changes on major emission sources from feed production to the return of manure back to the land. Several training videos are available.
    • Farm Smart (Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy)
      Farm Smart 1.5 provides dairy producers with their farm’s environmental footprint. It also allows them to compare energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use against regional and national averages compiled by the U.S. dairy industry’s Comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment for Fluid Milk.
    • DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) Model
      DNDC (i.e., DeNitrification-DeComposition) is a computer simulation model of carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in agro-ecosystems. The model can be used for predicting crop growth, soil temperature and moisture regimes, soil carbon dynamics, nitrogen leaching, and emissions of trace gases including nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO), dinitrogen (N2), ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). In order to download the DNDC model files you will need to register and provide a valid email, as well as your affiliation and intended use. After registration and confirming your email you will be able to download the files from the DNDC Model Download page.On the Download page, you will find 3 simulation models of interest.The DNDC model – A computer simulation model for predicting crop yield, soil carbon sequestration, nitrogen leaching, and trace gas emissions in agro-ecosystems.The Manure -DNDC Model- Ac computer simulation for predicting GHG and NH3 emissions from manure systems.US Cropland GHG Calculator- A decision support system for quantifying impacts of management alternatives on GHG emissions from Agro-ecosystems in the U.S.
    • Manure and Nutrient Reduction Estimator Tool (MANURE Tool)
      The MANURE Tool provides a system to quantify methane and and other GHG emission reductions and the environmental benefits of renewable energy produced by digesters at dairy and swine operations. The tool is based upon a full and accurate assessment of baseline conditions at the animal feed operation, which is a key element of the emission reduction calculation. This tool can be used to assess the quantity of emission reductions associated with implementation of specific technologies and/or practices. More information about the tool can be found on the Manure and Nutrient Reduction Estimator site.
      The COMET-FARM tool is a whole farm and ranch carbon and GHG accounting and reporting system. It is intended to help users account for the carbon flux and GHG emissions related to their farm and ranch management activities, and help them explore the impacts to emissions of alternative management scenarios. The tool guides the user through describing the farm/ranch’s management practices including alternative future management scenarios. Once complete, a report is generated comparing the carbon changes and GHG emissions between current management practices and future scenarios. More information about COMET FARM can be found on the COMET-FARM site.
    • SaveEnergy – Energy Audits (Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy)

Conference Proceedings

Waste to Worth 2013 – climate symposium

Waste to Worth 2015 – climate and greenhouse gases


This page was developed as part of a project “Animal Agriculture and Climate Change” an extension facilitation project to increase capacity for ag professionals. It was funded by USDA-NIFA under award # 2011-67003-30206. If you have questions about any of the topics or have problems with links, contact Crystal Powers

For questions about the AACC project, contact Rick Stowell or Crystal Powers.

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