New research from the University of Minnesota drills down to the county-level impact of corn production.
It’s well known that meat has a high environmental impact, largely because of the amount of corn animals are fed, in contrast to the protein they yield. And yet not all corn is created equal – water and fertilizer use varies, along with the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with its production.
Until now, U.S. stakeholders trying to assess – and improve – the sustainability of their supply chains had to rely on one coarse national estimate for the upstream environmental impact of corn production.
New research from the University of Minnesota drills down to the county-level impact of corn production, connecting it for the first time to where corn likely winds up – based on the facility-specific demand of large-scale U.S. corn consumers, which include meat and ethanol producers. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the innovative research reveals that the environmental impact of corn varies significantly across geographic consumption locations of sectors and individual producers.
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Image via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences