The 2014 farm bill signed by President Obama last week includes a new competitive grants program aimed at addressing critical issues impacting animal agriculture. The National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science (NAAAS) is lauding the provision, which authorizes $25 million/year over the life of the farm bill for research focused on food security, one health and stewardship.
The measure, which is part of the Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security and Stewardship Research, Education and Extension Programs, was proposed by NAAAS last year to address the shortfall in the federal investment in animal sciences. Current federal funding to support the animal sciences is not proportionate with animal agriculture’s economic contributions, NAAAS says, pointing out that livestock and poultry sales account for 40% of all farm income. When feed crops consumed by livestock are included, the contribution to farm income is 60%.
“This new program comes at a critical time when livestock and poultry producers are striving for global competitiveness, improving sustainability and working to feed a growing global population,” says Russell Cross, NAAAS president and head of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University.
Federal investment in the animal sciences has been declining for many years. The new competitive grants program provides the opportunity to step up investments in animal research to maintain its status as a leading producer of safe, affordable and abundant food and meet increasing demands, he says.
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