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USDA issues grants to MSU for food security, production

University receives grants for dairy and swine industry research projects.

Michigan State University has netted the lion’s share of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $6 million awards to help to increase food security and improve food production.

The grants were awarded through the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and administered through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) .

Lorraine Sordillo, professor of large animal clinical sciences, will use nearly $1 million to develop best practices to help dairy farmers around the country manage production losses and reduce diseases that affect transition dairy cattle. This is a key period just before and after having a calf when cows’ metabolic needs increase dramatically. How cows cope during this high-energy transition affects their milk production.

Paul Bartlett, professor of large animal clinical sciences, was awarded nearly $960,000 to address BLV and help reduce the disease’s impact on the U.S. dairy industry.

Janice Siegford, assistant professor of animal science, will use nearly $750,000 to develop behavioral and genomic tools to help improve swine interaction in group-living settings. Siegford will seek ways to reduce undesirable behaviors, such as fighting, which can affect the performance of swine and lead to injuries, lameness or death.

“As the world population continues to grow, we will need to find ways to double our food production levels to sustain an estimated 9 billion people,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “As a leader in agriculture production, the United States plays a critical role in feeding the world. This funding is critical to finding new solutions that will enable us to feed, clothe and shelter all people.”

On April 30, the USDA also awarded MSU $3.9 million to help Michigan farmers adapt to changing climate, tackle food safety issues, and help small- and medium-sized farms better compete in the marketplace.

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