Important Note

Tufts ended funding for its Open Courseware initiative in 2014. We are now planning to retire this site on June 30, 2018. Content will be available for Tufts contributors after that date. If you have any questions about this please write to

Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., William Lockeretz, Ph.D.


  • Roderick, S. et al. The diversity of organic livestock systems in Europe. In: Vaarst, M., et al. (eds.) Animal Health and Welfare in Organic Agriculture. 2004.
  • Honeyman, M.S. Västgötmodellen: Sweden’s sustainable alternative for swine production. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 10:129-132. 1995.
  • Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Hoop dreams: Can technology live up to the hype? Leopold Letter, Winter, 1998.
  • Murphy, W., et al. Environmental, economic, and social benefits of feeding livestock on well-managed pasture. In Lockeretz, W. (ed.) Environmental Enhancement through Agriculture. 1996.
  • Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Large-scale pastured poultry farming in the U.S. 2003.

Key Questions

The Diversity of Organic Livestock Systems in Europe

  • What are the various factors that influence development of different organic livestock systems?
  • Does an organic livestock operation essentially indicate a low input agricultural system? Discuss.
  • How does climate and geographic location of farms influence animal welfare?


  • What are the principles on which Vastgotmodellen system of hog farming is based?
  • What are some of the main differences between Vastgotmodellen and the confined hog production operations in the US?
  • What advantages does Vastgotmodellen offer to address some of the key problems in confined hog production in the US?

Hoop Dreams: Can technology live up to the hopes? - Hoop Houses and Pastures for Mainstream Hog Producers

  • What are some common features between usage of hoop structures for hog production and Vastgotmodellen?
  • What are the advantages of using hoop structures in hog production?

Environmental, Economic and Social Benefits of Feeding Livestock on Well-Managed Pasture

  • What are the key features of the Pasture User Support Group Network initiative?
  • What is the relevance of intensive pasture grazing systems for present day dairying?

Large-scale pastured poultry farming in the US

  • How is pastured poultry different from the confined poultry operations?
  • To what extent do pastured poultry operations depend on the non-farming community’s support for alternative agriculture to become and remain viable?