The mission of the Division of Agriculture’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) is to increase prosperity for rural Arkansas through sustainable practices. The Center has identified four major focus areas:
- Sustainability indices — measure key impact areas and trends over time, foster productive dialogue and promote progress toward sustainability.
- Life cycle analysis — quantify the environmental and social impacts of a product by measuring the inputs and outputs associated with its supply chain.
- Food industry program — strengthen farm to retailer connections and promote locally produced foods through research, education and outreach.
- Wastes reduction program — support the sustainable agricultural production in Arkansas by developing cost effective technologies to convert production wastes into energy and/or value-added products through research, education and outreach.
CARS faculty and staff have constructed a portfolio of life cycle assessments (LCAs) for various agricultural crops including cotton, cocoa, corn, dairy products, peanuts and pork. These LCAs provide the baseline data necessary for agricultural sector-level strategies for increasing the safety, security, and stability of U.S. products. They also support development of farm-level sustainability metrics that are informed by science, outcomes-based, transparent and technology-neutral. CARS faculty and staff are internationally recognized leaders in the science of sustainable agriculture.