Baselines, Trajectories, and Scenarios
Exploring Agricultural Production in the Northeast U.S.
Agricultural production on farms and ranches in the U.S. contributes to the food supply and the food system on local, regional, national, and global scales. Increasing production at the regional scale—the focus of this research—depends on accurately estimating current production and understanding the mechanisms and resource requirements of production shifts. The Production Team of the EFSNE Project undertook seven studies that focused on current and potential production in the U.S. Northeast region, which includes nearly one-quarter of the population but only about 3% of national cropland. Here we summarize the results from these studies that: (1) estimate the regional self-reliance of primary crop, livestock products, and livestock feeds; (2) develop and implement a method to delineate urban, peri-urban, and rural zones around cities and analyze the distribution of food chain businesses across these zones; (3) assess crop yield trajectories to refine potential production increases associated with agricultural expansion into different land categories; and (4) model climate change and dietary impacts on yields and land use. The regional self-reliance of food crops varies widely, and the predominant agricultural use of land is for the production of animal feeds. The peri-urban zones contain significant agricultural production and concentrations of supply chain businesses. The potential to expand regional output via yield increases varies by crop and by land category and is strongly influenced by climate change. The diverse disciplines represented on the Production Team, along with significant leadership from graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, contributed to the broad array of studies completed.
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