Contrasting Approaches to the Improvement of Cattle Ranching in Colombia

Isabel Hoyos Arango, Mariana Valencia Mestre, School of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660.

Livestock ranching in Colombia is a main driver of deforestation, land degradation, and carbon emissions. However, agroecological cattle ranching can be a part of an agricultural system that supports social, economic, and environmental health. Numerous initiatives that promote “sustainable” or “regenerative” cattle ranching have been implemented in Colombia. A review of the literature indicates that these government and/or NGO-backed projects tend to be “top-down” and emphasize technology, but can fail to account for the farmers’ contexts. By contrast, successful agroecological movements are more conducive to long-term positive change because they integrate social, economic, political, and scientific dimensions. The purpose of this research is to understand different approaches to the improvement of cattle ranching in Colombia by comparing the language, strategies, and motivations of three kinds of stakeholders including “top-down” government and/or NGO project managers, traditional ranchers, and agroecologists. Separate semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of these stakeholders. Three separate questionnaires were made, one for each kind of stakeholder. All 3 questionnaires included questions that refer to the eight key drivers of scalable agroecological movements identified by Gimenez Cacho et al (2018). Key drivers include recognition of a crisis, social organization, constructivist learning processes, effective agroecological practices, mobilizing discourses, external allies, favorable markets, and favorable policies. The “top-down” government and/or NGO project managers (8 participants) and the agroecologists (7 participants) were interviewed via zoom. Online semi-structured surveys were sent to traditional ranchers (35 participants). All interviews and surveys were anonymized and transcribed, to be analyzed using NVivo. The findings of this study will contribute to the understanding of cattle ranching in Colombia to scale up socially-relevant efforts to improve cattle management.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Isabel Hoyos Arango

Institution: Loyola University of Chicago

Type: Poster

Subject: Environmental Science & Sustainability

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 4643