The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture on Thursday announced three grants designed to improve food security by focusing research on minimizing animal loss due to livestock diseases or pests.
The three awards were made through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
"These grants will allow scientists to discover the new tools and technologies necessary to deal with the threats insects and pathogens pose to livestock production in our nation, which ultimately benefit consumers through abundant, affordable food," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director.
NIFA made the awards through the AFRI Food Security challenge area, which seeks to increase sustainable food production.
Priority was given to projects that will improve prevention, early detection, rapid diagnosis, or recovery from new, foreign, or emerging livestock diseases or arthropods (like fleas and ticks) that have the potential to cause livestock disease or major impacts on food security.
NIFA will make additional awards later this spring through the AFRI Food Security challenge area that focus on minimizing crop losses by arthropods and crop diseases.
The fiscal year 2014 NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative awards are:
• Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $47,464 – To create a portable computer and communication center for training veterinary students, graduate students, practicing veterinarians, and other food production stakeholders to use system dynamics modeling, other forms of stochastic and deterministic modeling and health data management or analysis software to protect animals from pests and livestock diseases.
• Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $1,460,000 - Develop knowledge-based integrated approaches to detect, control, and prevent poultry respiratory diseases in the United States through new and improved diagnostic tools, vaccines, and novel preventive measures.
• University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $1,480,000 - Reduce the impact of new, emerging and foreign pests and livestock diseases to domestic production of cattle, swine and small ruminant foods and byproducts.
Today's grants include research on alternatives to antimicrobial use in animals, such as improved vaccines, which could lead to a decrease in antimicrobial use.