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Federal ag research dollars go to animal production, health projects

Federal ag research dollars go to animal production, health projects
$27.6 million offered to tackle livestock and aquaculture species' health and production

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will provide about $27.6 million in funding for projects focused on livestock and aquaculture species production and health.

Related: Survey reviews rural, urban views of animal agriculture

Both animal production and animal health contribute to U.S. food production, food security, and economy, USDA noted, and the awards will support research, education, and extension projects.

Funding was available through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

$27.6 million offered to tackle livestock and aquaculture species' health and production (Thinkstock/BrianBrownImages)

While NIFA made the awards mostly through the AFRI Foundational program, some were offered with assistance through an interagency program with the National Institute of Health.

NIFA said the outcomes of these projects will advance genome enabled precision breeding and enhance animal production by improving animal growth, reproductive efficiency, and animal well-being.

Projects also will increase understanding of antimicrobial resistance and enhance animal health by tackling new, foreign or emerging disease threats through vaccine development, prevention, early detection, and recovery.

Related: Scientists studying tannins for livestock odor control

"As we continue to face major challenges in agriculture production, such as the extreme weather events and droughts, diminishing water resources, climate change, pests, and global competition, producers are looking for viable solutions," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "These grants allow American agriculture to remain a competitive force by providing food that is not only nutritious, but safe, and abundant."

Examples of AFRI funded animal health projects include:
• a conference on vaccine development for agricultural species to reduce diseases and the need for antibiotic treatments;

• a Michigan State University to create a health-monitoring tool to assess the risk of developing metabolic stress in dairy cattle;

• an Ohio State University led-consortia to control poultry respiratory diseases in the U.S.;

• a University of Rhode Island project sequencing the genome of the eastern oyster to improve breeding stock; and

• a University of Connecticut project to broaden the immunity of swine using an improved foot and mouth disease vaccine.

Catch the full list on the NIFA website.

Source: NIFA

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