Three grants have been awarded by the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture, a public-private partnership established by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture.
ICASA awarded funds to the following grantees:
- The Beef Alliance received $342,000 to evaluate how different use strategies with the antibiotic tylosin impacts beef cattle’s health. The research is being conducted by industry nutritionists and Beef Alliance members. The Beef Alliance and Cactus Research contributed matching funds to the project. Tylosin is commonly administered to cattle in US feedlots to treat and prevent liver abscesses. However, tylosin belongs to an antibiotic class often used in human medicine and its use has become controversial. The large-scale experiment, involving approximately 12,000 animals at six Beef Alliance member company feedyards across the US, is evaluating the impact of reduced tylosin dosage on the incidence and severity of liver abscesses. The results will enable cattle producers to make science-based decisions regarding the judicious use of tylosin, consistent with long-term goals set by the FDA and other stakeholders.
- Pipestone Veterinary Services received $313,840, matched by Pipestone Veterinary Services and the National Pork Board for a total $627,280 investment, to launch an on-farm antimicrobial resistance surveillance study for the U.S. swine industry. Currently, antimicrobial resistance data are not tracked on swine farms. The Pipestone team is collecting data on pathogens from 160 commercial swine farms in several states. These samples are being analyzed and the data will be correlated with antibiotic usage data at the farm level. This research is evaluating the relationship between antibiotic use, pathogen type, production practices and antimicrobial resistance across a large pig production system. Ideally, this information will form the basis for a standardized protocol to track antibiotic usage and conduct antimicrobial resistance surveillance that could be applied across the U.S. swine industry.
- The Noble Research Institute received $186,643, matched by Noble Research Institute LLC, Veterinary Research and Consulting Services and HyPlains Research and Education Center for a total $373,287 investment, to identify causes of late-onset bovine respiratory disease in cattle. Late-onset bovine respiratory disease affects nearly 10% of calves, resulting in pneumonia and widespread antibiotic use. Recently, a late-onset disease has been identified in some cattle that is similar to bovine respiratory disease. It is unclear whether this is the classical form of bovine respiratory disease, what causes the condition and how to treat it. Johnson collected DNA for genetic evaluation, nasal swabs for bacterial and viral analysis and blood samples for heart and lung analysis. Feed intake, stomach acidity levels and temperature were assessed on a subset of animals. The project is complete and final report will soon be released. This information will help researchers determine what health factors predispose calves to late onset bovine respiratory disease.
The three grants are the first grants awarded by the international consortium.
“I am impressed with the scale of these projects, which contribute to the consortium’s goals of advancing the judicious use of antimicrobials and understanding the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance on-farm, said Dr. Tim Kurt, FFAR’s Advanced Animal Systems Scientific Program director. "The potential impact of the research, conducted in collaboration with commercial livestock producers and veterinary providers, is substantial.”
The responsible use of antibiotics is a top priority for livestock producers. FFAR established ICASA in 2019 with an initial $7.5 million investment to fund research that promotes targeted antibiotic use, advances animal health and welfare and increases transparency in food production practices. The private sector is matching FFAR’s investment for a total $15 million investment in antibiotic stewardship research.