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Animal Agriculture Initiative awards research dollars for 2011-12

Three AgBioResearch-led projects are among MSU animal agriculture research and Extension projects that will share $314,774 in funding.

February 19, 2011

Animal Agriculture Initiative Coalition logoThree AgBioResearch-led projects are among seven Michigan State University (MSU) animal agriculture research and Extension projects that will share $314,774 in funding awarded by the Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI) Coalition for 2011-12.

Michigan agriculture faces numerous challenges and many opportunities for industry-related research. The AAI is vital to the health of Michigan's economy. A survey commissioned by the AAI in 2007 revealed that nearly $22.9 million in annual economic activity can be linked back to the initiative. AAI-funded research adds $11.5 million annually to the state's economy, and, for every state tax dollar invested in the AAI, the initiative returns $3.40 in gross state product.

Janice Swanson, interim chairperson of the MSU Department of Animal Science, director of animal welfare and director of the AAI Coalition, emphasized the strength of the research proposals received for consideration and the significance of funding these projects to the agriculture industry.

"Though research priorities are ever-increasing, available funding resources continue to decline," she explained. "The AAI grants allow our faculty to conduct projects that directly benefit Michigan agriculture or to conduct pilot studies crucial to securing extramural funding for comprehensive research."

The seven projects were selected from 23 project proposals submitted to the AAI Coalition requesting a total of nearly $1.13 million in funding. Proposals were ranked on the basis of how well they addressed the issues identified as high priority by industry groups, MSU Extension program teams and the AAI Coalition.

Projects funded for 2011-12 are:

  • Mitigating steer diets to reduce nitrous oxide emissions in confined and pasture systems, $57,998: Wendy Powers, AgBioResearch animal science and biosystems and agricultural engineering scientist and director of the MSU Extension Agriculture Institute.
  • Use of rewarding and dynamic environmental enrichment to alleviate pecking in non-cage laying hens, $56,795: Janice Siegford, AgBioResearch animal scientist.
  • Genome-wide QTL mapping for growth, carcass and meat quality traits in a pig resource population, $44,000: Juan Steibel, AgBioResearch animal scientist.
  • MSU Pork Quarterly newsletter, $3,500: Ronald Bates, Department of Animal Science and MSU Extension:
  • The effect of milking frequency on oxidant status and cytokine production in periparturient pastured dairy cows milked in an automatic milking system, $52,097: Elizabeth Karcher, Department of Animal Science.
  • Water utilization and conservation on Michigan dairy farms, $37,000: Roberta Osborne, MSU Extension.
  • Development of a local value chain model for Michigan beef, $63,384: Jeannine Schweihofer, MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU Extension.

The AAI is Michigan's animal agriculture research, teaching and Extension initiative housed at MSU. It is a partnership between MSU, livestock producers and industry organizations, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Its objective is to address challenges facing Michigan animal-based agriculture through research and Extension projects.

More than 200 research projects have been funded by the AAI since the initiative was established in 1996 as part of the grass-roots-driven Revitalization of Animal Agriculture in Michigan Initiative.

Photo: Animal Agriculture Initiative Coalition logo

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