Location: Soil Management ResearchTitle: A life cycle analysis (LCA) primer for the agricultural community
|SIEVERDING, HEIDI - South Dakota School Of Mines And Technology|
|KEBREAB, ERMIAS - University Of California, Davis|
|XU, HUI - Argonne National Laboratory|
|WANG, MICHAEL - Argonne National Laboratory|
|Del Grosso, Stephen - Steve|
|BRUGGEMAN, STEPHANIE - Augustana University|
|WESTHOFF, SHAINA - South Dakota State University|
|RISTAU, JAMES - South Dakota Corn|
|KUMAR, SANDEEP - South Dakota State University|
|STONE, JAMES - South Dakota School Of Mines And Technology|
Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2020
Publication Date: 5/6/2020
Citation: Sieverding, H., Kebreab, E., Johnson, J.M., Xu, H., Wang, M., Del Grosso, S.J., Bruggeman, S., Stewart, C.E., Westhoff, S., Ristau, J., Kumar, S., Stone, J. 2020. A life cycle analysis (LCA) primer for the agricultural community. Agronomy Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/agj2.20279.
Interpretive Summary: Consumers often wish to know how the food they buy was produced. Was is produced in a sustainable manner? One tool available to make comparisons among products is called Life Cycle Analysis or LCA for short. The goal of this paper is to explain how LCA works. Use of LCA for agricultural commodities is complex and includes the growing of the crop or animal, transportation, use and disposal with each step having the potential for multiple environmental impacts. The large number and types of analyses can make it difficult for those unfamiliar with the LCA to use and interpret LCA results. This paper provides a clear overview and introduction to LCA, demonstrating how LCA can be used to compare products’ sustainability. This information is useful to educators, extension and others in the agricultural community seeking to better understand the results from this powerful analytical tool. Understanding LCAs can assist the agricultural community in decision-making, assuring a product was produced in a sustainable manner.
Technical Abstract: Increasingly, consumers are interested in purchasing agricultural products that were produced using sustainable techniques. One approach that can be used to compare products is to conduct a life-cycle analysis (LCA). The objective of this paper is to provide a primer on LCA. Through worldwide agricultural marketing, intricate systems have been developed to produce, store, and distribute agricultural products. In many situations, the production practices are not linked to the products consumers purchase. This limitation can be partially overcome by conducting an LCA, which is a systematic summation of the multiple environmental impacts associated with the production, use, and disposal of a product. However, the large number and types of analyses can make it difficult for non-practitioners and decision-makers to use and interpret LCA results. It is important for members of the agricultural community to be aware of these analyses and how they can be used and how they affect product markets.