The primary goal of this study is to assess the carbon, energy, water and land footprints per kg (2.2 pounds) of live weight (LW) pork produced at five-year increments between 1960 and 2015. This assessment utilizes the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, which is a technique to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with a product system by compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material flows, evaluating the associated burdens, and interpreting the results to assist in making more informed decisions and to provide an understanding of the drivers of change over the past 55 years. This LCA is “cradle-to-farm gate” e.g. covering the material and energy flows associated with the full supply chain beginning with extraction of raw materials through the production of live, market-weight swine, inclusive of culled sows, at the farm gate. On average, production-weighted metrics declined across all four categories over the assessment period. The largest decrease was seen in land use (75.9 percent), followed by water use (25.1 percent), then global warming potential (7.7 percent), and finally energy use (7.0 percent). [Excerpt from report].
Putman, B., Hickman, J., Bandekar, P., Matlock, M., & Thoma, G. (2018). A Retrospective Assessment of US Pork Productions: 1960 to 2015. University of Arkansas Resiliency Center. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/rescentfs/2