Several research projects focused on improving the impacts of livestock production on the environment are on the list to receive funding from the Michigan State University (MSU) Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI). In total, more than $361,000 was awarded to seven new projects designed to help enhance animal agriculture.

 

The AAI is Michigan’s animal agriculture research, teaching and Extension initiative housed at MSU. It is a partnership between the university, livestock producers, industry organizations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Its objective is to address challenges facing the state’s animal-based agriculture through research and Extension projects.

 

Janice Swanson, chair of the Department of Animal Science at MSU and AAI director, said the Animal Agriculture Coalition, the funding arm of the AAI, always receives far more proposals than it can fund and that results in strong proposals that produce solid outcomes. “There is stiff competition,” she explains. “Unfortunately, our funding is limited, so we have to choose carefully. Proposals were ranked on the basis of scientific quality, industry partnering and whether they addressed issues identified as high priority by industry groups, MSU Extension program teams and the AAI Coalition.”

 

The projects funded for 2012-13 included a study focused on feeding amino acids to reduce air emissions and the carbon footprint of swine production by Wendy Powers, MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU Extension. This project received $62,470.

 

Another funded project is investigating milking facility wastewater standards for small dairies. This project is spearheaded by Steve Safferman, MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and was awarded $55,000.

 

The AAI granted $56,280 to a study quantifying a carbon footprint for pasture-based animal production by Jason Rowntree, MSU Department of Animal Science.

 

Nathalie Trottier, MSU Department of Animal Science, received $60,332 to probe the impact of dietary crude protein on metabolic efficiency of nitrogen utilization by the lactating sow.

 

More than 200 research projects have been funded by the AAI since it was established in 1996 as part of the grassroots-driven Revitalization of Animal Agriculture in Michigan Initiative. To learn more about the AAI, visit www.aai.msu.edu.