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Competitive research program launched to improve pig health

FFAR and National Pork Board collaborate to launch swine health research program; up to $2 million available through competitive call for applications.

Source: Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and National Pork Board 
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established with bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 farm bill, and the National Pork Board today announced joint support totaling up to $2 million for a competitive research program to improve pig health, productivity and well-being with the end goal of improving pig survival during all stages of production.

In the United States, pork producers strive to improve all facets of animal care, including pig health, well-being and productivity. Ultimately, improvements in these three areas will result in marketing more pigs and producing more pork. This grant program is designed to focus research, education and training in these key areas of pork production.

“As animal caretakers, America’s pig farmers strive to give their animals the best opportunity to reach marketable weight,” says Dustin Kendall, a swine nutritionist with Prestage Farms in Clinton, N.C., and chair of the NPB’s Animal Science Committee. “Unfortunately, data from the Pork Checkoff’s Industry Productivity Analysis suggest the trends are negative in this area. Focusing Checkoff funds in this underserved research area will allow us to find solutions that significantly benefit all of our producer stakeholders.”

Up to $2 million is anticipated to be awarded to one scientifically diverse group of researchers willing to pool talent and resources to make a significant, immediate impact on pig survival. Potential research areas may include health, genetics, nutrition, facility design, management, monitoring, economics and welfare.

“The most meaningful agricultural research is designed in partnership with stakeholders,” says Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is pleased to join the National Pork Board to support this important initiative to address swine mortality rates on farms across the United States.”

In addition to research, successful applicants are expected to conduct outreach to industry stakeholders and train graduate and veterinary students involved as assistants on the project. Applicants are required to submit a clearly defined outreach plan with specific objectives for disseminating research results to the scientific community as well as to pork producers and their staff.

“Investing Checkoff funds in production research makes a real difference at the farm level,” says Chris Hostetler, director of animal science at the National Pork Board. “In fact, every dollar invested in production research returns of $83 in industry-wide benefit according to a third-party audit by Cornell University. This collaboration with FFAR is just one of the ways producer dollars can be leveraged to magnify the return on investment.”

Potential applicants should contact Hostetler. Applications are due May 15.

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