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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet and Potato Research » Research » Research Project #435594

Research Project: Sustainability and Health Impact Assessment of U.S. Pulses

Location: Sugarbeet and Potato Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-001-07-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Feb 29, 2020

Objective:
(1) Establish national-scale benchmark of environmental sustainability across multiple dimensions (climate change, eutrophication, etc.) for the production and consumption of major pulse crops. (2) Submit lifecycle inventory data sets to the National Agricultural Library Digital Commons. (3) Evaluate the environmental sustainability of alternative diets with varying quantities of pulses, working in conjunction with USDA nutritionists to ensure that each alternative diet is nutritionally equivalent. (4) Evaluate environmental sustainability of alternative pulse production management systems, including a consequential lifecycle analysis paradigm focused on the production and health effects of pulses.

Approach:
We will follow international standards for performing life cycle assessment. We will work in consultation with pulse experts to gain full understanding of the common production systems and agronomic practices for a number of pulse crops. We will then construct life cycle inventory models to link unit processes describing the broader food supply system. Gathering data from available public sources, and in conjunction with ARS and other experts, we will quantify the inputs and emissions and link these in the Simapro platform. This will enable calculation of life cycle impact assessment results for the environmental benchmarking categories of interest. We will link production processes with processing and distribution to consumers to complete a cradle-to-grave impact assessment for each of the pulse crops. This provides the basis for evaluating alternate diets with varying quantities of pulses included, through the creation of plates that include additional food items available from extant databases and prior work at the University of Arkansas. By restructuring the life cycle inventory model to account for marginal supplies, we can create a consequential version of the system to support evaluation of potential scenarios targeting efforts to increase pulse production and consumption with both national and global context.