Optimizing Land Usage for Profitability in an Agroecological System

Birch, Haley
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The demand for increased food production is growing along with the population. The proper utilization of land is key for food security. There is a disconnection between standard farming techniques and natural eco-systems. Land and livestock have opportunities to yield higher profits from working with the eco-system through agroecological farming. Improving agroecological practices among farmers is a step towards decreasing our footprint, and living sustainably. The direction of the research was focused on one main question: What is the optimal mix and quantity of animals based on profitability and sustainability? A spreadsheet was created to identify the potential profits of for various farming operations based on the total amount of land available, using the land so that it fits the animals’ optimal environment, and following sustainable farming practices. Primary and secondary research was collected in order to support the spreadsheet. The scope of the research is focused on Simple Life Farms, a family farm in Winterset, Iowa that raises dairy goats and chickens. The feasibility of different farming opportunities has been examined. The results from this research are a spreadsheet that outline the profitability opportunities for different animals based on the land.