Manuscript in progress.

As the planet becomes increasingly urbanized, and its climate becomes more unpredictable, there is intense pressure to produce safe and sustainable livestock products. This pressure provides an opportunity to imagine a new model of livestock production, one in which the health and welfare of livestock and the vitality of the ecosystems upon which they depend are prioritized alongside production. Precision Ranching is an area of design research that draws from research in precision agriculture, systems ecology, and computational creativity. This research model explores the potential for emergent technologies to shape a more sustainable, humane mode of production that positions livestock as the creative agents in the landscape. By surveying existing technologies and mapping livestock production systems in relationship to regional habitat patterns, we can identify the potential for a new data-driven model of livestock production. Using the Mississippi River Watershed as a testing ground, this flexible, responsive, and adaptive system can generate positive ecological externalities, rather than merely mitigating negative environmental impact.

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Student Researchers: Greg Dahlke and Abram Ebersohn