Environmental and Economic Analysis of Regionalizing Fluid Milk Supply Chains in the Northeastern U.S.
School of Integrative Plant Science
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
On-line via Zoom
11:30 am-1:00 pm
We developed and evaluated an empirical model of the U.S. dairy supply chain with a high degree of spatial and product disaggregation to assess the impacts of increasing localization of the northeast region’s fluid milk supply on food miles, supply chain costs, greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions, economic activity, and employment. Evaluation included comparison to regional production values and sensitivity analysis of demand and unit cost assumptions. Our analysis compares a baseline to two localization scenarios based on state boundaries and multiple-state subregions. Localization scenarios increased total distances fluid milk traveled by 7−15%, overall supply chain costs by 1−2%, and emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalent) criteria pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 μm associated with fluid milk transportation by 7−15% per month. The impacts of localization on employment and economic activity are positive, but changes are small on a percentage basis. Our analyses indicate that the definition used for localization has an impact on outcomes and that efforts to localize food systems may benefit from a more systems-oriented approach.