2017 Message from M-AAA Leadership

M-AAA support is helping researchers confront some of animal agriculture’s most pressing issues, such as protecting the environment, combating antibiotic resistance, managing infectious diseases and improving animal welfare.

As we embark on the fourth year of the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA), it has been a privilege to see support climb each year.

The partnership has evolved from roughly $600,000 in grant funding from Michigan State University (MSU) in the first two years to a combination of funding from MSU, commodity organizations and the state of Michigan, totaling more than $1.5 million last year.

In 2018, that commitment will grow even more, as the state has budgeted $2.5 million to M-AAA. With the MSU and commodity organization funding included, $3.1 million is available to enhance research and outreach efforts, which speaks to the value our partners have seen in our work thus far.

The increased funding is helping researchers confront some of animal agriculture’s most pressing issues, such as protecting the environment, combating antibiotic resistance, managing infectious diseases and improving animal welfare.

As support rises, so do expectations. We must continue to discover long-term, sustainable solutions. This is a challenge we readily accept. The grant process remains extremely competitive and rigorous, ensuring that the quality of our work is paramount. We know that agriculture producers, our commodity group partners and the people of Michigan are relying on our expertise and guidance to solve problems limiting growth and sustainability of animal agriculture in Michigan.

This report features a sample of research project summaries detailing work that MSU scientists have performed using M-AAA grant funding.

Phil Durst, an MSU senior Extension educator, examined the prevalence of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) in 38 dairy herds around Michigan in an effort to bolster awareness of the disease and options for mitigating its effects. In Michigan alone, economic losses from BLV total roughly $14 million per year.

Alongside Durst, MSU researchers Paul Coussens and Paul Bartlett have used M-AAA funding to uncover how BLV negatively affects dairy cattle immune system function. The promising results have led to external grant funding, allowing us to continue to gain insight and develop innovative strategies on behalf of producers.

Management techniques now recommended include implementing single-use hypodermic needles for vaccinations, cleaning and disinfecting equipment that comes in contact with blood or other fluids, using new or cleaned reproductive examination sleeves, and segregating BLV-positive cattle.

This is just one example of the powerful research shared around the state, preparing our stakeholders to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

It is important to acknowledge that we could not accomplish these goals without our partners in M-AAA, who update priorities annually so the most current and pressing issues confronting animal agriculture are addressed. On behalf of the entire M-AAA leadership team, thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

George W. Smith
Associate Director, MSU AgBioResearch
Associate Dean for Research, MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Did you find this article useful?