A new targeted Kansas State University effort, the Beef Cattle Institute, will focus on the cattle business, its role in the state's economy and the need to provide safe, nutritious beef products to the state, region and world.
The interdisciplinary initiative will include teachers, researchers and subject specialists from several of K-State's Colleges – the Colleges of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Business, and Education. From those colleges, researchers from the Departments of Clinical Sciences, Animal Sciences and Industry, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Continuing Education, Food Science Institute, and libraries will be involved, says Daniel Thomson, a K-State veterinarian tapped to lead the new collaborative effort.
The goal is to centralize teaching, research and outreach related to the beef business, Thomson says. According to a Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service report, in 2005 the beef industry contributed $6.1 billion to the state's economy. Each $1 million in expansion within the beef industry will add $1.96 million to the economy.
While not a new building or visible center, the institute concept will offer a platform for faculty from complementary disciplines to integrate their expertise and maximize potential benefits from that expertise, Thomson says.
Chris Reinhardt, assistant professor in feedlot nutrition in K-State's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, and Deanna Retzlaff, assistant professor in the university's Food Science Institute, will serve as co-principal investigators to coordinate the effort, which also will likely draw on other sources.
The Institute's collaborators plan to develop online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in beef cattle production and an online master's degree in beef cattle production. Other emphases will focus on a producer service center and the development of an online English/Spanish training program for people working in beef production.
Although just recently notified of funding, faculty members have already identified seven core issues, which include:
* Cattle health and well-being;
* Employee safety;
* Production quality and efficiency;
* Cattle disease surveillance;
* Anti-microbial resistance, and
* National animal identification system.
K-State's Beef Cattle Institute will be funded by a $490,000 grant from a Targeted Excellence Program initiated by former Kansas State University Provost Jim Coffman.
Dr. Coffman's goal was to identify strengths within the university and build on them to benefit the state and region, while also making Kansas State University one of the top 10 land-grant universities in the country and a respected center within the international community, Thomson says.
Provost Duane Nellis is continuing the Targeted Excellence program following Dr. Coffman's retirement, he says.
K-State would seem to be in a good position to make substantial contributions to health and safety research associated with beef cattle by forming strategic partnerships with companies located in what is referred to as the "animal health corridor," Thomson says.
"Nearly 30 percent of the animal health products used worldwide are researched, developed and produced by companies headquartered in the Kansas City area," he says.
More information on the new Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute is available by contacting Thomson at 785-532-4254.
Source: Kansas State University