Several University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine projects recently received funding through the Rapid Agricultural Response Fund for the 2024–25 biennium. Originally authorized by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1998, the RARF was created to enable rapid responses to urgent issues facing Minnesota's agriculture and natural resource based industries. The fund is coordinated and administered under the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, in partnership with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, and Veterinary Medicine, and with support from the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
This year's awards totaled $2.6 million, which went to 13 projects selected through a competitive proposal process. Information about all the awardees can be found here.
Luciano Caixeta, "The utilization of technology to address major challenges in the dairy industry using hyperketonemia as a test case"
Limited workforce availability is a major challenge faced by the dairy industry. Precision technology can be used to identify cows at risk for disease, contributing to a better allocation of labor in dairy farms. In order for this technology to support decreased labor needs, however, producers need to understand how best to alter their management strategies. The main goal of the study is to optimize the process of identifying at-risk cows that will benefit from treatment, using the metabolic disorder hyperketonemia as a test case. Ultimately our results will improve the allocation of farm personnel efforts while maintaining animal welfare and contributing to farm sustainability.
Cesar Corzo, "Evaluation of manure pumping as a factor for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome incidence, exacerbation, increased shedding and decreased performance"
In October and November, Minnesota pig producers experience a significant increase in the probability of outbreaks of PRRS, a devastating viral disease that impacts the health of pigs and the swine industry. This yearly phenomenon occurs at the same time when producers are agitating barn pits and spreading manure in their fields to fertilize. The primary goal of this project is to assess whether manure management practices (agitating/pumping) have an impact in PRRS incidence, disease exacerbation, or pig production, in order to provide producers with information to decrease the risk of outbreaks.
Timothy Johnson and Randall Singer, "What drives Streptococcus gallolyticus success in commercial turkeys?"
Recently, a national working group of turkey veterinarians was established to better understand diseases caused by Streptococcus gallolyticus in commercial turkeys, which has seen an increase among turkey flocks. The goals of this project are to identify risk factors for the disease, characterize different disease strains and diagnostic markers, understand how it behaves within turkey production systems, and deliver knowledge to industry stakeholders.
Mariana Kikuti, "Development of animal welfare-friendly sampling strategies to investigate recently introduced porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) viruses in breeding herds"
Hinh Ly, "Development of a new generation of viral vectored vaccines against swine influenza virus"
Influenza A virus of swine is widespread in the swine population and can cause significant economic loss to swine producers. The virus also poses a threat to human health, as it can also infect humans. Therefore, successful control of IAV-S will not only reduce the economic impact of this viral pathogen to the swine industry but will also alleviate the threat to public health. However, existing IAV-S vaccines are unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, so there is an urgent need to develop a novel IAV-S vaccine that is safe and can provide a broad spectrum of heterologous protection, which is the main goal of this project.
Montse Torremorell, "Investigating the effect of viral strain on the airborne transmission of PRRS virus"
In late 2020, a new variant of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS 1-4-4 L1C) emerged, causing massive outbreaks in Minnesota swine. It is unclear why this variant spread so rapidly, but the stability of the strain in aerosols was considered a key factor. This study will investigate the effect of strain on factors relevant to airborne transmissibility in order to strengthen our understanding of the complexity of PRRSV airborne transmission. The outcomes of the study will help develop more effective strategies to prevent PRRSV in pig farms, for preservation of overall health and sustainability of the global pork supply.