2018 Message from M-AAA Leadership

Continued support from the state of Michigan, commodity groups and Michigan State University has propelled M-AAA to new heights, offering increased opportunities to grapple with some of animal agriculture’s most pervasive challenges.

February 1, 2019 - Author: ,

George Smith and Ron Bates
George Smith and Ron Bates

In 2019, we enter the fifth year of the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA). Continued support from the state of Michigan, commodity groups and Michigan State University (MSU) has propelled the initiative to new heights, offering increased opportunities to grapple with some of animal agriculture’s most pervasive challenges.

From evaluating and improving worker training on dairy farms to promoting environmental sustainability, MSU researchers and Extension educators have been on the forefront of many urgent concerns. Recommendations based on M-AAA studies are being delivered to producers, and the feedback has been resoundingly positive. This speaks to the value of our partnerships with the animal agriculture industries, a collaboration that gives valuable insight to help to set research priorities.

This report contains updates on completed and ongoing M-AAA projects, which cover several of our important animal agriculture commodities. 

Madonna Benjamin, an assistant professor in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine and a swine veterinarian with MSU Extension, is exploring sow health and welfare amidst impending group housing requirements. She is developing a low-cost and noninvasive imaging technology used to assist pork producers with economic decisions regarding removal of animals from the herd, feed allocation and treatment linked to improved animal welfare.

Adam Lock, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Animal Science, is working with dairy farms on nutritional strategies to increase milk fat content, which impacts the value of milk and profitability.

Jeff Andresen, a professor in the MSU Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, and Michigan’s state climatologist, is using data to make more informed siting decisions for new and expanding animal agriculture operations. Using a web-based decision support tool, producers can enter odor emission information and search odor footprints by location. This will allow producers to choose more optimal locations for their facilities.

These projects are great representations of the M-AAA’s four main priorities:

  • Develop research, outreach and educational programs.
  • Ensure and improve food safety.
  • Protect the environment.
  • Improve workforce development.

In 2019, researchers are continuing to delve into important, timely issues for producers. Twenty projects will be funded in the areas of research, extension and seed grants. For a complete list of these projects, visit maaa.msu.edu.

We wish to thank the state of Michigan, our industry partners and our colleagues at MSU for their unwavering commitment to improving animal agriculture — addressing improved profitability, sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Sincerely,

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

Ronald Bates
Director, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, MSU Extension


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