tAgricultural production in the United States is undergoing marked changes due to rapid shifts in consumerdemands, input costs, and concerns for food safety and environmental impact. Agricultural productionsystems are comprised of multidimensional components and drivers that interact in complex ways toinfluence production sustainability. In a mixed-methods approach, we combine qualitative and quantita-tive data to develop and simulate a system dynamics model that explores the systemic interaction of thesedrivers on the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agricultural production. We then usethis model to evaluate the role of each driver in determining the differences in sustainability betweenthree distinct production systems: crops only, livestock only, and an integrated crops and livestock sys-tem. The result from these modelling efforts found that the greatest potential for sustainability existedwith the crops only production system. While this study presents a stand-alone contribution to sectorknowledge and practice, it encourages future research in this sector that employs similar systems-basedmethods to enable more sustainable practices and policies within agricultural production.
Sustainability, Agriculture production systems, System dynamics modelling, Drivers, Farming policy
Walters, Jeffrey P.; Archer, David W.; Sassenrath, Gretchen F.; Hendrickson, John R.; Hanson, Jon D.; Halloran, John M.; Vadas, Peter; and Alarcon, Vladimir J., "Exploring Agricultural Production Systems and Their Fundamental Components with System Dynamics Modelling" (2016). Faculty Publications - Biomedical, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering. 68.