Youth A. Greenhouse Gas Educational Lab Materials via Pork Production Scenarios


Why Examine Greenhouse Gases Relative to Pig Farm Decisions?

1. Educate students within the state of Arkansas about the various management systems intrinsic to swine production operations within their state.

2. Provide students insight into the management obstacles that Arkansas swine producers are challenged with through balancing Carbon footprints, economic resources, natural resources, and legal compliance with production profitability

What did we do?

This project presents a dynamic lab activity with emphasis on introductory level subject matter about Arkansas swine production systems and the related greenhouse gas emissions. The activity materials were crafted into two complementary products for practicality. The first product is a compilation of swine production reference materials, including; terminology, layman definitions of common Arkansas swine management strategies, and the basic dynamics of common greenhouse gasses (CO2, N2O, CH4) as they relate to this activities scope of swine production. The reference material serves as both an introduction to basic ideas and practices native to swine production and GHGs, as well as a guide which aids the students in completion of the second product (lab activity).

The second product is a scenario based critical thinking exercise, implemented from a manipulative decision-tree platform. Flashcards are used to represent three specific swine management systems using a three tier hierarchy. This hierarchy is distinguished by the allocation of Categories, Components, and Options. The “Categories” are the designated ranking class and will represent three major swine production management systems: Housing Management, Manure Management, and Feed Management. The “Components” are the first sub-order class, and are used to represent various functions/considerations that comprise each “Category” of production system. The “Options” class holds the lowest position within the hierarchy and represents the different configurations/settings for the individual “Components”. Throughout the context of this exercise the students will act as virtual consultants hired by a producer to design the three management systems (via the flashcards) to “best match” the producer’s expressed concerns and desired specifications, as defined by a supplied catalogue of unique scenarios.

What have we learned? 

(Classroom implementation of the materials is pending)

Future Plans

Implementation of the materials via:Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Ag-In-The-Classroom program. We are also exploring opportunities to blend the materials into 4-H curriculums, and possibly have the materials available for adoption by high school educators within Arkansas.


Szymanski “Rick” Fields II, Program Associate, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension

Karl VanDevender, Professor-Engineer, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension

Additional information


Dr. Jennie Popp, University of Arkansas

Dr. Rick Ulrich, University of Arkansas

Donna VanDevender

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