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Animal Production and Protection


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations predicts that feeding the world’s growing population will require a doubling of global food production by 2050.  Fulfilling this need will require new technologies to improve both productivity and efficiency of food animals. The Animal Production and Protection topic area aims to develop innovative, marketable technologies that will provide significant benefit to the production and protection of agricultural animals. New technologies for rapid detection, treatment and prevention of disease are needed to improve productivity and enhance the biosecurity of our herds and flocks.  Better technologies are also needed to trace animals as they move through the food supply chain and to ensure that food products derived from animals do not contribute to food-borne illnesses.  To meet increasing consumer demand for value-added animal products, innovative technologies are needed to address the challenges presented by non-conventional management systems and strategies. And there is an urgent need for technologies that decrease the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and optimize use of our natural resources.  Technological advances in animal production and protection will not only enhance the safety of the Nation’s food supply and contribute to environmental stewardship, they will also allow American producers to remain competitive in the global marketplace and contribute to global food security.

FY 2012 Research Priorities:


Development of marketable technologies designed for use in agriculturally important animals that will:

1.      Improve production efficiency.  Areas of interest include improved fertility; increased feed efficiency; and translation of genomic information into practical use and benefit.

2.      Improve the safety and/or quality of end products derived from animals.  These technologies must be applicable in the pre-harvest environment.

3.      Improve animal health and well-being.  Examples of these technologies include new diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and other immunization methods, biosecurity management tools, traceability methods, and animal handling methods.

4.      Improve the productivity of animals in modified conventional or alternative animal production systems.  Examples include non-confinement housing, pasture-based feeding systems, and organic systems.

5.      Mitigate the impacts of animal agriculture on the natural environment.  Areas of interest include technologies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions or reduce the excretion of phosphorus and nitrogen.

Other Key Information

  •      Applications not meeting one of the above research priorities will not be reviewed.
  •      Applications that deal with post-harvest technologies for products derived from animals will not be accepted for review under this program area.  Applications that deal with post-harvest technologies for foods derived from animals may be submitted under topic area 8.5 Food Science and Nutrition.
  •      Applications should explain how the proposed work will contribute to the USDA Societal Challenge Areas (Global Food Security and Hunger, Climate Change, Food Safety).
  •      Applications exceeding the budget limitation or exceeding the page limit or not meeting the formatting requirements will be excluded from NIFA review.
  •      The applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the National Program Leader regarding the suitability of research topics.
  •      All Phase I applications should give the reviewers a brief vision of where the PD expects the project to be at the end of Phase II (entering Phase III commercialization).
  •      Applications dealing with aquacultured species should be submitted under topic area 8.7 Aquaculture.
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