Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture with a major speech regarding the role of science and research at USDA.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture was created under the 2008 Farm Bill. NIFA replaces the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service which had been in existence since 1994. Among areas the agency is expected to focus on are animal health and animal genomes.

“The U.S. pork industry has long supported more research on issues such as animal well-being, food safety, nutrition and the environment,” said Don Butler, NPPC president. “NIFA will perform an invaluable service to our industry and all of agriculture by funding much-needed research and education on matters that affect America’s farmers and ranchers.”

NIFA, which also administers the national 4-H program, is directed by Roger Beachy, who reports to USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Rajiv Shah.
“NIFA will be the department’s extramural research enterprise,” said Vilsack in launching the agency. “It is no exaggeration to say that NIFA will be a research ‘start-up’ company. We will be rebuilding our competitive grants program from the ground up to generate real results for the American people.

“We look forward to working with Sec. Vilsack, Dr. Shah and Dr. Beachy in supporting research and science that will help the U.S. pork industry continue to produce the safest, most nutrition meat protein for consumers worldwide,” added Butler.

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Source: NPPC, USDA