WASHINGTON (USDA) — USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $24 million in grants to study animal heath, reproduction, breeding, genetics and nutrition. The agriculture animal industry plays a crucial role in the success and growth of the nation's economy, accounting for 42 percent of forecast U.S. agricultural receipts in 2009.
"The agriculture animal industry faces increasing challenges from animal diseases, reduced fertility, low nutrition and growth and non-tariff trade barriers," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "These grants will help the United States maintain a strong, internationally-competitive animal agriculture industry and lead to safer and more affordable animal products."
NIFA awarded these grants through four program areas of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): Animal Reproduction Program; Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program; Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program; and Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture Program. AFRI funds research, education, and extension grants and integrated research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.
Animal programs at NIFA address several critical issues, including children's health, food safety, international food security, and environmental protection. They help reduce childhood obesity and improving human nutrition by providing higher quality sources of animal protein with reduced fat contents while making efforts to reduce the dependency of the feeding and use of antibiotics and hormones to domestic animals. The programs also work to ensure a safer food supply by targeting the reduction in pre-harvest food borne pathogens. Furthermore, they contribute significantly to international food security by supporting research to reduce the incidence of diseases in animals and improving the production efficiency of agriculturally important animals. Finally, these programs play a critical role in global climate change and environmental stewardship by promoting the reduction of green house gases emissions, the release of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment through improved systems of livestock management and more efficient use of nutrients fed to animals.
The list of f iscal Year 2009 grants can be found here.