I am looking for an example or a case with arguments that would justify converting cattle ranches into plant farms (e.g., wheat, apple, or anything non-meat). The advantages should be in a more sustainable eco-friendly economy including more jobs and less pollution.

  • 5
    The production of meat and dairy has a much bigger environmental impact than the production of vegetables or grains (see for example this blog or these two scientific papers). So I would argue that almost all plant farming is more eco-friendly than raising livestock. Admittedly these studies only look at environmental impact, not social impact (jobs)
    – THelper
    Nov 19, 2019 at 13:16
  • It would also depend on the location of the ranch, its climate, soil type & water resources. Cattle or sheep ranches can exist economically on difficult country with poor soils water with certain levels of salt, such as semi arid lands, that would be very inhospitable to crop agriculture.
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2019 at 17:48
  • Thank you @THelper.
    – user101464
    Nov 26, 2019 at 0:35
  • Thank you @Fred.
    – user101464
    Nov 26, 2019 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


Sorghum can be grown without irrigation in areas of 25" of annual rainfall. Also, sorghum requires less fertilizer than corn. Then sorghum can be processed into carbon-neutral ethanol but the sorghum must be within 10 miles or so of a processing plant for that result to be true.

Of course an independent farm, not near processing plants, could make syrup or be a distillery.

  • Sorghum, switchgrass, and algae pull large amounts of carbon-dioxide out of the air. Corn nets very little carbon-dioxide out of the air and partially because of the amount of fertilizer that it requires.
    – S Spring
    Nov 22, 2019 at 23:50
  • Thank you @S Spring.
    – user101464
    Nov 26, 2019 at 0:37

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