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?