Exploring Interactions Betwen Agricultural Decisions and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using Swine Production

green stylized pig logoThe materials on this page are an interactive lab designed to introduce students (high school level) to pig farming and the connections between management decisions  and the greenhouse gas emissions. It also includes information on the economic implications of those decisions. Background information and activities are provided in a graphical (visual) format. Part one can be a stand-alone activity or prepare students for part two.

You can download each of the files individually using the links below or download the entire lab (134 pages – PDF format). The information contains references to Arkansas agriculture and swine production in some areas, but the information is still applicable in other states.

What do you know about swine and greenhouse gases?

This one page (PDF format) fact sheet (including a fun short quiz) can be utilized as part of this lab or as a stand-alone handout to stimulate discussion. Download factsheet

Part One Activity  – The Basics

This section includes five files that introduce the basic concepts of greenhouse gases, swine production systems, and glossary of swine production terms. This activity utilizes both text and graphical presentation of concepts and emphasizes information comprehension. Download Part One

  • Resource information – lesson plan and background information. This includes three aspects of swine management systems including feed management, housing management, and manure management.
  • Farm management system graphics – a visual aid to depict how each individual practice/component contributes to the building of a given pig farm system.
  • Farm flashcards – brief description and graphical rendering of various swine farm components
  • Lab report form – several structured questions designed to
  • Farm management option guide (FMOG)*

*The FMOG also doubles as a scenario key for the completion of Part 2.

Part Two Activity – Challenging

This section provides more in-depth information on swine production systems and greenhouse gases. It provides insight into management obstacles faced by pig farmers in balancing carbon footprints, available resources, producer goals, and legal compliance. This critical-thinking activity is meant to be completed in small groups. Download Part Two

  • Resource information – lesson plan and background information.
  • Farm management option guide FMOG
  • Three scenarios – each covers manure, feed, and housing
  • Flashcards – including health and feed, housing, manure


Authors: Rick Fields and Karl Vandevender, University of Arkansas. For questions about these materials, contact Rick at rfields@uaex.edu

This information is part of the program “Integrated Resource Management Tool to Mitigate the Carbon Footprint of Swine Produced In the U.S.,” and is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68002-30208 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Project website.