University department heads from across the nation have formed an association to focus on advocating increased federal investment in animal science, according to an article from Texas A&M University (TAMU).
The National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science is comprised of representatives from animal, dairy and poultry science departments from colleges and universities across the United States who are dedicated to improving federal funding for animal agricultural research.
“Federal funding for research, education and extension in the animal sciences has remained stagnant over the last 30 years, both in terms of real dollars invested and as a percentage of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s overall investment in science,” says Russell Cross, head of the department of animal science at TAMU, who serves as president of the association.
“While there have been numerous efforts to address overall funding for agricultural research, there has not been a concerted effort to specifically advocate for funding of the animal sciences. In order to address funding inequities and build support for increasing the federal investment in the animal sciences, bold new steps need to be taken,” he states.
The association will serve as a common voice for animal agricultural researchers who play a critical role in maintaining the nation’s status as a world leader in safe, abundant and efficiently produced animal products, according to officials. It intends to work closely with like-minded groups such as the Federation of Animal Science Societies and the Animal Agriculture Coalition to complement their activities by providing focused advocacy to increase funding for the animal sciences.
The association will actively work with Congress and the administration to promote the importance of investing in animal science. Its members will benefit from regular updates on policy developments and be alerted to opportunities to communicate with policy makers about the animal sciences, Cross says.
As the world’s population grows and natural resources become limited, agricultural research is necessary to improve efficiency in order to sustain food supplies for the growing global community.
“Demand for agricultural products is expected to increase 70 to 100% by 2050,” Cross says. “As global economies develop, the demand for animal products is projected to grow most rapidly. Funding support at the federal level is a must in order for our nation’s top researchers to continue making discoveries and advancements in agricultural research in order to increase agricultural productivity and meet this projected growth.”
All departments of animal, dairy and poultry science in the United States are encouraged to join the association. National, regional and state commodity, industry and other organizations allied with animal agriculture are also encouraged to become associate members.