EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA) will invest $2.6 million in 2019 to support research and outreach that directly benefits the animal agriculture industries.
Addressing short- and long-term critical industry priorities linked to sustainability — managing antibiotic resistance, curbing infectious diseases, improving animal welfare and boosting environmental stewardship — are the initiative’s primary goals.
“I’m proud that as we enter the fifth year of M-AAA, we’ve been able to collaborate successfully with the animal agriculture industries and the state of Michigan to offer timely, valuable information and potential solutions to critical issues,” said George Smith, the associate director of Michigan State University (MSU) AgBioResearch and associate dean for research in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “On behalf of the M-AAA leadership team, I want to thank the state of Michigan for its third consecutive year of financial support for M-AAA and the commodity organizations for their continued commitment to the program.”
Twenty projects were chosen for funding in 2019. Grants are awarded in one of three categories: research, extension or seed funding.
“We really value the ability to help direct university research toward issues that are affecting farmers today,” said Mary Kelpinski, the chief executive officer of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “Serving as one of the reviewers allows me the opportunity to make sure the funded research proposals are benefiting today’s farming needs and future challenges. Farming has changed over the years, and we need to continue to find ways to raise more food in a safer, more sustainable manner to feed our growing populations.”
Jeannine Schweihofer, a meat quality MSU Extension educator, is examining shelf-life and packaging concerns associated with uncured vacuum packaged meat products. The objective is to increase efficiency for processors, enabling the production of larger batches of products while reducing the time and resources expended.
Maninderpal Singh, an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, leads the first project to receive joint funding from M-AAA and Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs). Project GREEEN operates a competitive grants program similar to M-AAA for research and outreach within plant agriculture.
Singh is seeking to improve the management of ear rot and fungal contamination of corn silage, a valuable feedstuff for cattle, swine and poultry. Contamination can result in health challenges for these animals.
Elizabeth Ferry, an MSU Extension educator, is using M-AAA funding to provide outreach and training on emergency response preparedness for accidents or emergencies that involve livestock. First responders often don’t have the training or equipment to handle livestock trailer accidents. This training will help first responders know what equipment is needed and how to use it to safely and humanely move livestock.
“The dedicated funding drives more targeted research to address Michigan-specific issues,” said Ron Bates, the director of the MSU Extension Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute. “The M-AAA improves our ability to quickly and effectively communicate these research results back to Michigan farmers in forms they can use to improve their farm businesses.”
For a complete list of 2019 projects, visit maaa.msu.edu/projects.