Issue Papers

Issue Papers - IP53 - September 2013

A popular belief exists that animal agriculture competes for human food supplies and wastes resources. Little scientific information exists regarding this concept, and it is therefore necessary to quantify human-inedible feedstuff use and re-examine the feed efficiency concept using a ratio of human-edible feedstuff input to human-edible (animal protein) output. This paper (IP 53) addresses the commonly heard argument that livestock compete with humans for food resources, thus providing support for the continued existence of livestock production.  It also addresses the knowledge gap that currently exists as to the quantity of human feed and fiber by-products used within animal agriculture. Chair:  Jude Capper, Montana State University.  IP53, September 2013, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).


Issue Papers - IP52 - June 2013

This paper looks at the history and purpose of the precautionary principle (PP) and examines problems of ambiguity, arbitrary application, and bias against new technologies. Because the publication (IP 52) is especially focused on the need to feed a growing population, the case studies center on agricultural issues such as pesticide use, genetically modified foods, and food irradiation. The authors state that the PP has played an important part in bringing attention to appropriate risk management. If it is applied in its more stringent formulations, however, the PP will suppress innovation, to the detriment of both the economy and human health. Chair:  Gary Marchant, Arizona State University.  IP52, June 2013, 20 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Video of Panel Discussion (courtesy of GW Regulatory Studies Center): Precautionary Principle: Innovative Concept or Risky Business
Intros (0:00 - 13:00), Dr. Marchant's presentation of paper (13:00 - 37:00), Panel Discussion (37:00 - 1:07), Q&A (1:07 - 1:30).

Dr. Gary Marchant, Regents' Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Susan Dudley, Director, GW Regulatory Studies Center and Research Professor of Public Policy, The George Washington University
Dr. Ricardo Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Dr. Sally Kane, President, Society for Risk Analysis--National Capital Area Chapter (Moderator)

Issue Papers - IP51 - March 2013

Future food, fiber, and fuel demands will not be met by expanding cropland area; continued advances in nutrient use efficiency will moderate increased nutrient demand. With a growing population, dwindling arable land, and an increased demand for biofuels, the world cannot count on an expansion of harvested area to fill the demands of the world’s growing population. The use of genetics to improve crop productivity, promote soil conservation and management, and use nutrients efficiently is necessary. The key lies in supporting research and development in these areas. This CAST Issue Paper (IP 51) looks at the background leading to the current situation and addresses the resulting requirements as world food production develops during the next 40 years. The authors use data to analyze factors influencing crop production now and indications of what is to come, and they show how research regarding nutrient use, recovery, and recycling is crucial. Chair: David Zilberman, University of California -- Berkeley.  IP51,March 2013, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Paper 51 Rollout Presentation by Dr. Zilberman and Dr. Bruce Dale


Issue Papers - IP49-SPA - February 2013

Los herbicidas se desarrollaron durante el siglo XX para su uso con la labranza convencional con el fin de controlar malezas. Posteriormente, evolucionó la labranza de conservación (mínima), que permitió menor daño al suelo cuando se utilizaba con herbicidas. Sin embargo, las presiones de selección han tenido como resultado especies de malezas que se han adaptado para su supervivencia conjuntamente con la labranza. El gobierno de EEUU ha establecido diversos programas y políticas para ayudar a determinar la selección e implementación de programas de cultivos y conservación relacionados a herbicidas y labranza. Este artículo examina el impacto que ciertas prácticas de control de malezas han tenido en los objetivos de conservación del suelo y aborda formas de mitigar sus efectos negativos.
Presidente: David R. Shaw, Office of Research and Economic Development, (Oficina de Investigación y Desarrollo Económico) Mississippi State University, (Universidad Estatal de Misisipí), Mississippi State. IP49 SPA, February 2013, 16 pp. Gratuito. Disponible en línea e impreso (Cuota de envío y manejo). (IP 49 SPA)

Issue Papers - IP50 - August 2012

This paper (IP 50) addresses specific water and land concerns related to animal agriculture. The authors consider issues of water use and water quality associated with the livestock sector and the related environmental and economic impacts. The paper also includes a discussion of livestock land use, land degradation, land application of manure and manure-based composts, and deforestation related to farm policies.  This Issue Paper presents scientific data specific to North America (primarily the United States) and explains how and why these data compare with other parts of the world.  Additionally, it discusses how to reduce the environmental impact of livestock agriculture while preserving resources and quality of life. Chair: Kelly D. Zering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. IP50, August 2012, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP49 - February 2012

Herbicides were developed during the twentieth century to be used with conventional tillage for weed control. Conservation (or minimum) tillage subsequently evolved, which enabled less soil damage when used with herbicides. Selection pressure, however, has resulted in weed species that have made adaptations for survival in conjunction with tillage. The U.S. government has put several federal policies and programs in place that help determine the selection and implementation of crops and conservation programs in relation to herbicides and tillage. This Issue Paper (IP 49) examines the impact of certain weed management practices on soil conservation objectives and addresses ways to mitigate negative effects. Chair: David R. Shaw, Office of Research and Economic Development, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State. IP49, February 2012, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP48 - January 2012

Energy Issues Affecting Corn/Soybean Systems: Challenges for Sustainable Production speaks to energy issues within the corn/soybean production system as a model for understanding the complexity of addressing global energy challenges. Research and development is needed to find ways to lower adoption barriers for energy-conserving practices and develop management systems that allow agricultural production to meet multiple demands. The challenges include (1) a growth in biofuel production directly from corn/soybeans coupled with a simultaneous growth in oil and agricultural commodity prices, and (2) the ability of the motor fuel infrastructure to handle an increased volume of ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels. The authors propose a landscape vision for sustainable corn/soybean systems that is feasible and could be done efficiently and economically if there is a desire and public willingness to do so. It would, among other things, provide sustainable grain and biomass feedstock supplies for the bioenergy industry, protect water quality, lessen producer/environmental risk, and promote biodiversity. Chair: Douglas L. Karlen, USDA—ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, Iowa. IP48, January 2012, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP47 - May 2011

The purpose of this CAST Issue Paper (IP 47) is to go beyond the generalizations and accusations often associated with the air quality topic. Experts from six universities examine a large amount of data and focus their information and conclusions around the key livestock areas: swine, poultry, dairy, and beef. Their critical analyses look at a wide scope of issues, from greenhouse gas emissions to the logistics of manure storage facilities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing efforts to monitor emissions from agriculture, so further research is important for all parties involved, and this paper provides solid, science-based information. Chair: Larry D. Jacobson, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. IP47, May 2011, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP46 - June 2010

Part 9, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY." Animal biotechnology, which includes both genetic engineering and mammalian cloning, has expanded rapidly in recent decades. These technologies already have been applied in biomedical research and now are nearing application within the food system. This paper from CAST reviews animal biotechnology techniques, discusses related key ethical issues, evaluates religious views and traditions regarding animal biotechnology, summarizes public opinion research on the topic, and evaluates the challenges and opportunities for the ethical development of agricultural animal biotechnology. Chair: Paul B. Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics and Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing. IP46, June 2010, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP45 - January 2010

This timely Issue Paper includes a preface from Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and has been prepared as an update of CAST Paper No. 1, written by Dr. Borlaug in 1973. The authors of the current paper address (1) future demands facing agriculture; (2) the relationship of bioenergy and bioproducts to agriculture; (3) major issues impacting future U.S. agricultural productivity; (4) major issues facing agricultural productivity in other parts of the world; (5) strategies to meet future food needs; and (6) examples of research areas that could enable the next "Green Revolution." The authors question the commitment by the United States and many other countries for support of agricultural research and indicate the far-reaching impact that such research, education, and resulting technology--or lack thereof--will have on the nation and the world. Chair: Gale Buchanan, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia, Tifton Campus. IP45, January 2010, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).