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Policies for Reintegrating Crop and Livestock Systems: A Comparative Analysis

Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 430, 6700 AK Wageningen, The Netherlands
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Embrapa Agrossilvopastoral, Sinop 78550-970, MT, Brazil
Agroforestry Research Center of Acre, Embrapa, Rio Branco 69900-970, AC, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hossein Azadi and Iain Gordon
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 473;
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
PDF [631 KB, uploaded 22 March 2017]


The reintegration of crop and livestock systems within the same land area has the potential to improve soil quality and reduce water and air pollution, while maintaining high yields and reducing risk. In this study, we characterize the degree to which federal policies in three major global food production regions that span a range of socioeconomic contexts, Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States, incentivize or disincentivize the use of integrated crop and livestock practices (ICLS). Our analysis indicates that Brazil and New Zealand have the most favorable policy environment for ICLS, while the United States provides the least favorable environment. The balance of policy incentives and disincentives across our three cases studies mirrors current patterns of ICLS usage. Brazil and New Zealand have both undergone a trend toward mixed crop livestock systems in recent years, while the United States has transitioned rapidly toward continuous crop and livestock production. If transitions to ICLS are desired, particularly in the United States, it will be necessary to change agricultural, trade, environmental, biofuels, and food safety policies that currently buffer farmers from risk, provide too few incentives for pollution reduction, and restrict the presence of animals in crop areas. It will also be necessary to invest more in research and development in all countries to identify the most profitable ICLS technologies in each region. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable agriculture; agroecology; United States; New Zealand; Brazil sustainable agriculture; agroecology; United States; New Zealand; Brazil

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Garrett, R.D.; Niles, M.; Gil, J.; Dy, P.; Reis, J.; Valentim, J. Policies for Reintegrating Crop and Livestock Systems: A Comparative Analysis. Sustainability 2017, 9, 473.

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