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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388493

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: The social networks of manureshed management

item MEREDITH, GWENDWR - University Of Nebraska
item Spiegal, Sheri
item Kleinman, Peter
item Harmel, Daren

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2022
Publication Date: 2/9/2022
Citation: Meredith, G., Spiegal, S.A., Kleinman, P.J., Harmel, R.D. 2022. The social networks of manureshed management. Journal of Environmental Quality. 51(4):566-579.

Interpretive Summary: Today’s livestock producers often face challenges with manure management that extend beyond their capacity to recycle manure within their operations. USDA scientists and colleagues from universities and agricultural agencies in the United States and Canada have put forth the “manureshed” framework as way of helping to sustainably manage manures at scales that extend well beyond the farmgate. As part of their efforts to facilitate manureshed management, this study identifies the array of collaborators who are needed to ensure that manureshed management is successful.

Technical Abstract: Manureshed management - the strategic use of manure nutrients that prioritizes recycling between livestock systems and cropping systems - provides a comprehensive framework for sustainable nutrient management that necessitates collaboration of many actors. Understanding the social dimensions of collaboration is critical to implement the strategic and technological requirements of functional manuresheds. To improve this understanding, we map the networks of actors involved in manureshed management across local, regional, and national scales, principally in the United States, elucidating key relationships and highlighting the breadth of interactions essential to successful manureshed management. While the social networks vary with scale, the involvement of a common, core set of actors appears to be universal to the successful integration of modern livestock and crop production systems necessary for functional, successful manuresheds. Our analysis also reveals that, in addition to agricultural producers, local actors in extension and advisory services and private and public sectors ensure optimal outcomes at all scales. Ultimately, for manureshed management to successfully integrate crop and livestock production and sustainably manage manure nutrient resources at each scale, the full complement of actors identified in these social networks are critical to generate innovation and ensure collaboration continuity.