Special Issue "Environmental and Economic Performance of Farming and Food Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Sean Clark
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404, USA
Interests: agriculture and food systems; appropriate technology in farming; environmental effects of farming and food choices; organic farming; biological pest management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the environmental and economic consequences of current and future farming and food systems is fundamental for addressing the complicated and interrelated sustainability challenges we face as a society. Food production and consumption account for a substantial part of the total greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, and other environmental impacts. Traditional and emerging approaches to address these issues have economic consequences that may be positive or negative for farmers, consumers, and others in the supply chain. The goal of this Special Issue is to offer insights into how different practices, systems, technologies, and approaches to food production affect environmental and economic performance.

Field experiments, case studies, and reviews assessing environmental and/or economic aspects of farming and food will be considered. Topics could include the following: production systems, such as organic farming, cover cropping, conservation tillage, crop and livestock integration, hydroponics/aquaponics, agroforestry, rooftop farming, and urban farming; new developments in life and food sciences, such as conventional breeding, genetic engineering, plant-based meat and milk alternatives, and CRISPR; supply chain innovations, like community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, farmers’ markets, value-added production, blockchain technologies, e-commerce, and third-party certifications; and information technologies and robotics, such as smart farming, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic weeders, drones, robotic milking systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Performance assessment methods and variables could include life cycle assessment (LCA), greenhouse gas emissions, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, soil quality, costs of production, profitability, farm resilience, biodiversity protection, pesticide and fertilizer use, labor efficiency, food miles, and dietary and health effects.

Prof. Sean Clark
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • community supported agriculture (CSA)
  • food hubs
  • organic farming
  • artificial intelligence
  • value-added production
  • supply chains
  • smart farming
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • appropriate technology
  • profitability

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Financial Viability of an On-Farm Processing and Retail Enterprise: A Case Study of Value-Added Agriculture in Rural Kentucky (USA)
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020708 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
Value-added processing and direct marketing are commonly recommended strategies for increasing income and improving the economic viability of small farms. This case study uses partial budgeting to examine the performance of an on-farm store in Kentucky (USA) over a six-year period (2014–2019), intended [...] Read more.
Value-added processing and direct marketing are commonly recommended strategies for increasing income and improving the economic viability of small farms. This case study uses partial budgeting to examine the performance of an on-farm store in Kentucky (USA) over a six-year period (2014–2019), intended for adding value to raw farm ingredients through processing and direct sales to consumers. Three primary product supply chains were aggregated, stored, processed, and sold through the farm store: livestock (meats), grains (flours and meals), and fresh produce (fruits, vegetables, and herbs). In addition, prepared foods were made largely from the farm’s ingredients and sold as ready-to-eat meals. Whole-farm income increased substantially as a result of the farm-store enterprise but the costs of operation exceeded the added income in every year of the study, illustrating the challenges to small farms in achieving a sufficient economy of scale in value-added enterprises. By the final two years of the study period, the enterprise was approaching break-even status. Ready-to-eat items, initially accounting for a small fraction total sales, were the most important product category by the end of the study period. This study highlights the importance of adaptability in the survival and growth of a value-adding enterprise as well as the critical role of subsidies in establishing similar enterprises, particularly in low-income, rural areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Economic Performance of Farming and Food Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors and Minimal Subsidy Associated with Tea Farmers’ Willingness to Adopt Ecological Pest Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226190 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
Scientific assessment related to the externalities of the tea ecological pest management (TEPM) system that can affect socio-economic development and ecological benefits is important to the sustainable development of the tea industry. This paper used the contingent valuation method to evaluate the externalities [...] Read more.
Scientific assessment related to the externalities of the tea ecological pest management (TEPM) system that can affect socio-economic development and ecological benefits is important to the sustainable development of the tea industry. This paper used the contingent valuation method to evaluate the externalities associated with TEPM and the factors affecting its adoption by farmers through survey data collected from Anxi county, Fujian province, China. The results showed that the positive externalities, which were not internalized (embodied in price), affected the willingness of tea farmers to adopt TEPM. The willingness to accept a subsidy for adopting the TEPM system was significantly affected by the individual tea farmer’s age, education level, income, size of plantation, knowledge of human health and risk preference. The compensation threshold of externalities for TEPM was 5668.80 yuan per hectare per year. It is suggested that the government should adopt this threshold as a minimum subsidy to mitigate information asymmetry in two markets, namely ecological management technology and trading between suppliers and buyers of tea products. Finally, production stability and improved price for high quality tea resulting from healthy ecology in TEPM could enhance positive externalities. This coupled with other benefits, such as a reduction in the amount of resources spent on pesticides, could result in governmental subsidies for TEPM being gradually reduced over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Economic Performance of Farming and Food Systems)
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