Performance Analysis of Dairy Farms Transitioning to Environmentally Friendly Grazing Practices: The Case Study of Santa Catarina, Brazil

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The conflict between food production and environmental conservation demands alternative agriculture practices to maintain or increase food production, protect and restore critical ecosystem processes, and reduce dependence on non-renewable agricultural inputs. Deforestation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, for which agriculture has been a primary driver, already threatens the biome’s impressive biodiversity and the ecosystem services it helps sustain. Many small family farmers in Santa Catarina—located in the South of Brazil—have adopted the Voisin Rational Grazing System (VRG) as an alternative to conventional and environmentally detrimental dairy activities. This article presents the results of a research project designed to analyze the economic, social, and ecological VRG impacts based on farmers’ perceptions and economic accounts. We compare farmer profitability and critical social and environmental aspects of both systems using detailed interviews and monthly accounting of revenues and expenditures on VRG and conventional farms. We found that VRG is more profitable than the conventional dairy system in Santa Rosa de Lima. However, most farmers combine VRG with some conventional practices, affecting profitability and potential ecological benefits. The adoption of VRG in Santa Rosa de Lima nonetheless correlates with reduced use of environmentally harmful inputs, compatible with a gradual transition to a more ecologically-friendly and sustainable system.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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