MSU Projects Receive Agriculture Initiative Awards

US - The Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI) at Michigan State University (MSU) has announced the recipients of project funding for 2011-2012. The AAI awarded a total of $314,774 divided between seven projects.
calendar icon 22 February 2011
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The Animal Agriculture Initiative 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.

The AAI at MSU is vital to the health of Michigan's economy. A survey commissioned by the AAI in 2007 reveals 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.

Twenty-three project proposals requesting nearly $1.13 million in funding were submitted for consideration by the Animal Agriculture Initiative Coalition, a group that provides program direction to AAI research and Extension projects involving the state's beef, dairy, equine, poultry, sheep and swine industries. The group also works with various industry advisory committees to help establish research priorities for improving Michigan animal agriculture. The AAI Coalition is made up of representatives from the MSU departments of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics; Animal Science; Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Crop and Soil Sciences; Food Science and Human Nutrition; and Large Animal Clinical Sciences (College of Veterinary Medicine); AgBioResearch and MSU Extension.

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

She explained: "Though research priorities are ever-increasing, available funding resources continue to decline. 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."

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 2011-2012 are:

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

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.

To learn more about the AAI, click here.

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