Monday, April 18, 2011

USDA grants $14M to Mizzou, Texas A&M for cattle research

COLUMBIA, MO (KBIA) - The U-S Department of Agriculture is giving 14 million dollars in grants to the University of Missouri and Texas A&M in hopes to find the most efficient ways to breed cattle.

Farmers aren’t getting the most out of the feed they’re shoveling into their troughs. That’s the basic hypothesis behind the grant. It will pay the University of Missouri to map the genes of cattle and examine bacteria and microbes in the animals’ stomachs.

Director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, says this will help identify the all-star cattle. “We’re gonna get a view of what the diversity of all the animal population is and through that they’re going to be able to select those breeds that are higher-use efficiency. By doing that, we will produce more with less,” Beachy said.

Dr. Jerry Taylor in the College of Agriculture is heading the project at MU. He believes that within 5 years this research will lead to technologies that can increase feed efficiency at farms across the U.S.

“Animal agriculture has less funding available to it than, for example, if you’re a human disease researcher and have access to NIH funding. So when you do get a grant like this, these grants don’t come along every day. You have to make the money go as far as you possibly can,” Dr. Taylor said.

Taylor says his work will overlap with the research that will be done at Texas A&M, which will focus on studying Bovine Respiratory Disease. Researchers say the disease costs farmers in the U.S. almost $700 million a year

Ryan Famuliner, KBIA.


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