A Review of Environmental Impacts of Cereal Grain Supply Chains

  •  Andrew Larkin    
  •  Abigail Schulte    
  •  Kurt Rosentrater    


The global reliance upon cereal grains, not only for domestic consumption, but also for export in international markets continues to be critical to many countries’ economies. The ecological impacts of the various steps along the supply chain required to get product to the consumer, whether it be fuel, feed, or food, have significant environmental impacts. Ecological assessments have focused historically upon carbon footprints, but by considering other measures of life cycle assessments (LCA), we can come to a better understanding of the environmental significance that some of the most critical crops in our world have. The goal of this study was to compile environmental impact data from published literature and conduct synthesis to determine ecological trends. Published data was compiled and analyzed to determine where critical environmental shortcomings were in the cereal grain industry. Analysis of these data will enable recommendations to be made concerning the weaker spots in supply chains (i.e., more environmentally impactful). In addition, by expanding the geographic locations to an international scale, this study will allow for environmental impacts to be assessed based on various approaches found across the globe. As long as our world continues to place significant emphasis on cereal grains as foundations for societies, we need to better understand the ramifications of these critical crops' ecological impacts and how best to address them.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.