Socio-economic and governance conditions corresponding to change in animal agriculture: South dakota case study

Jacqueline S. Welles, Noelle Cielito T. Soriano, Freda Elikem Dorbu, G. M. Pereira, Laura M. Rubeck, Erica L. Timmermans, Benjamin Ndayambaje, Alison V. Deviney, John J. Classen, Jacek A. Koziel, Erin L. Cortus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Understanding sustainable livestock production requires consideration of both qualitative and quantitative factors in a temporal and/or spatial frame. This study adapted Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to relate conditions of social, economic, and governance factors to changes in livestock inventory across several counties and over time. This paper presents an approach that (1) identified factors with the potential to relate to a change in livestock inventory and (2) analyzed commonalities within these factors related to changes spatially and temporally. This paper illustrates the approach and results when applied to five counties in eastern South Dakota. The specific response variables were periods of increasing, no change, or decreasing beef cattle, dairy cattle, and swine inventories in the specific counties for five-year census periods between 1992 and 2017. In the spatial analysis of counties, stable beef inventories and decreasing dairy inventories related to counties with increasing gross domestic products. The presence of specific social communities related to increases in county swine inventories. In the temporal analysis of census periods, local governance and economic factors, particularly market price influences, were more prevalent. Swine inventory showed a stronger link to cash crop markets than to livestock markets, whereas cattle market price increases associated with stable inventories for all animal types. Local governance tools had mixed effects for the different animal types across space and time. The factors and analysis results are context-specific. However, the process considers the various socio-economic processes in livestock production and community development applicable to agricultural sustainability questions in the Midwest and beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10682
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 26 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Science Foundation (Grants 1639340 and 1833225) supported the INFEWS-ER Virtual Resource Center for Transdisciplinary Graduate Student Training at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water. Advisors also participate in the National Institute for Food and Agriculture Multistate Research Project S-1074. The authors appreciate A.M. Marshal, R. Koelsch, and N. Nelson for early mentoring on transdisciplinary research skills. Special thanks to the South Dakota persons who shared their experiences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Boolean logic
  • Decision-making
  • Livestock
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
  • Rural development
  • Socio-economic
  • South Dakota
  • Sustainable agriculture


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