Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Concentrated factory farming of livestock massively alters the phosphorus cycle

Posted 25 Jan 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution

This short feature provides a clear example of how human agricultural practices massively modify nutrient cycles, decoupling what used to be inseparable: where animal feed is grown and where animals are raised. This separation means that we no longer have closed-loop agricultural systems.

I would suggest that the end of this feature tells us what we ought to do, which is to incorporate the cost of appropriately redistributing phosphorus into the price of the meat people choose to eat from mass-production livestock operations. We need to close the nutrient loop, especially with our finite supply of phosphorus.

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