USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will provide $24 million in grants to study animal heath, reproduction, breeding, genetics and nutrition. Animal agriculture plays a crucial role in the success and growth of the nation's economy, accounting for 42 percent of forecast U.S. agricultural receipts in 2009.

"The animal agriculture industry faces increasing challenges from animal diseases, reduced fertility, low nutrition and growth and non-tariff trade barriers," says Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "These grants will help the United States maintain a strong, internationally competitive animal agriculture industry and lead to safer and more affordable animal products."

NIFA awarded the grants through four program areas of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Animal Reproduction Program; Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program; Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program; and Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture Program. AFRI funds research, education and Extension grants and integrated research, Extension and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state scope in agriculture.

Animal programs at NIFA address several critical issues, including children's health, food safety, international food security and environmental protection. It addresses childhood obesity and improved human nutrition by providing quality sources of lean animal protein while making efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics and hormones to domestic animals. The programs also work to ensure a safe food supply by targeting the reduction in pre-harvest food-borne pathogens. NIFA also contributes to international food security by supporting research to reduce animal diseases and improve animal production efficiencies. Finally, these programs play a critical role in global climate change and environmental stewardship by promoting the reduction of green house gases emissions, the release of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment through improved systems of livestock management and more efficient use of nutrients fed to animals, according to NIFA's statement.

Fiscal Year 2009 grants were awarded to:

Animal Reproduction Program:
Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo., $125,000, $340,000 and $349,080
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $349,260
Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., $315,000
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $349,782
North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $10,000, $28,633 and $320,000
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $325,000
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $349,503
University of Texas, Austin, Texas, $325,000
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $338,086  and $349,287
University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, Texas, $124,610
West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $337,835  and $330,000
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $25,000

Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program:
Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., $800,000
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., $970,000
University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $388,343
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., $10,000
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $449,939
Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Md., $341,755, $625,000 and $749,975
University of Maryland, College Park, Md., $681,145
Agricultural Research Service, USDA, East Lansing, Mich., $625,000
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $443,491 and $689,921
University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $10,000 and $130,000
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $749,502
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $450,000
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $597,902
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $930,000
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Va., $908,280
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $449,747

Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program:
Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., $348,836
University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $349,326
California State University, Fresno, Calif., $349,560
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Fla., $350,000
University of Idaho, Moscow, Id., $137,829
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $349,421
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $149,707
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $349,983
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $350,000
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $125,000
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $349,476 and $349,992
South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $319,883
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $260,987
West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $350,000
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $10,000

Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture Program:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $1,000,000
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., $900,000
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $470,894
Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $629,106
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $1,000,000

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and Extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. You can find more information on the Web site.
Source: USDA