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Rylie Pelton

Dr. Rylie Pelton (she/her) is a Research Scientist of Industrial Ecology at the Institute on the Environment with research focused on improving the sustainability of supply chains in food and energy systems. Rylie has deep expertise in the application of parameterized spatial life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to quantify environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, water quality) of production and consumption systems, across a wide variety of management practices and geographic regions with the aim of identifying effective GHG reduction strategies to meet climate action targets. Rylie has deployed these methods working with several major protein producers, feed producers, retailers, and NGOs to examine entity and region-specific impacts of production and opportunities for mitigating environmental impacts. 

Rylie holds a doctorate in Industrial Ecology with a minor in Public Health, and a M.S. and B.S. in Corporate Environmental Management from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. Rylie spends her free time hiking, gardening, cooking, and engaging in consulting and other entrepreneurial activities. 

Current Projects:

  • FoodS3 (Food System Supply chain Sustainability): development of decision support systems for identifying commodity flow sourcing regions and associated spatially-explicit environmental impacts across food and bioenergy supply chains (corn, soy, wheat, ddgs, soymeal, wheat midds, ethanol, flour, beef cattle, dairy cattle, chickens, hogs), and examination of GHG mitigation interventions/strategies for specific regions and stakeholders. Past/present funding partners: The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife fund, Environmental Defense Fund, Smithfield Foods, McDonalds, Tyson Foods, National Science Foundation
  • SAgES (Solar Agriculture for Ecosystem Services): development of decision support systems to align food production, ecosystem services, and solar development through identification of land use solar siting decisions that maximizes economic and environmental potential for farmers, developers, and society. Past/present funding partners: USDA NIFA
  • SRAPS (Sustainable and Resilient Animal Protein Systems): Use of machine learning and data science for examining interventions to mitigate tradeoffs between resilience and sustainability in the Animal Protein System.  Past/present funding partners: USDA NIFA