Fifteen Michigan State University (MSU) researchers and Extension specialists have received more than $600,000 in grants to be used to help advance the state’s animal agriculture industry.
The funds were awarded by the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA), a partnership between Michigan’s animal agriculture industries, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension. Formed in 2014, M-AAA focuses on advancing the state’s animal agriculture economy by supporting applied research and outreach efforts that address key issues identified by the industry.
The Michigan food and agriculture system contributes roughly $100 billion annually to the state’s economy and provides nearly 1 million jobs — about 22 percent of the state’s workforce. About 37 percent of the agricultural products sold are attributed to the animal agriculture sector.
Twenty-seven proposals, requesting approximately $900,000, were submitted to M-AAA for consideration in three categories: applied research, Extension efforts and seed grants.
George Smith, MSU AgBioResearch associate director, is in charge of administering the M-AAA grants program.
“We were fortunate to receive a very strong set of proposals this year and to fund research and Extension projects addressing many of the major priorities of our animal agriculture industries,” Smith said. “These M-AAA research and Extension projects continue to exemplify the strong history of successful partnerships between the Michigan animal agriculture commodity groups and MSU to help grow the animal agriculture economy, enhance employment opportunities, and build economic vitality and sustainability for the entire state.”
All proposals were required to identify anticipated benefits to Michigan animal agriculture and to align with the annual priorities of one or more of the following animal agriculture stakeholder organizations: Michigan Allied Poultry Industry, Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Horse Industry, Michigan Meat Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association and Michigan Sheep Breeders Association.
Evaluation criteria included:
- Relevance to the Michigan animal agriculture industry and annual priorities.
- Potential long-term impact.
- Technical merit and feasibility.
- Investigator qualifications.
- Mechanisms to deliver research information generated to relevant commodity groups.
- Leverage of external and other funding sources and extent of partnering with Michigan animal agriculture industries.
- Plans for future extramural funding and importance of seed funding to future success.
“We appreciate MSU’s dedication of research funds for animal agriculture programs and the opportunity for the M-AAA partners to work collaboratively with MSU in determining research priorities,” MMPA President Ken Nobis said. “Funding of animal ag research will help the agriculture industry continue to grow and expand our safe and affordable food supply.”
Fifteen projects—totaling $605,159—were selected for funding. The proposals address issues related to nutrient management, animal health and welfare, public perception, and sustainability and profitability across beef, dairy, horse, poultry, sheep and/or swine industries.
Ray Hammerschmidt, MSU Extension interim director, calls M-AAA grant funding a valuable tool in helping expand the knowledge of Michigan’s food producers.
“This gives our educators an opportunity to multiply the great work they already do,” he said. “This helps ensure that the good research we do around the state gets into the hands of the farmers who can put it into practice on their farms.”
For more information on M-AAA, visit agbioresearch.msu.edu.