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.
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Garrett RD, Niles M, Gil J, Dy P, Reis J, Valentim J. Policies for Reintegrating Crop and Livestock Systems: A Comparative Analysis. Sustainability. 2017; 9(3):473. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030473