Checkoff collaboration boosts farm-level research

The National Pork Board has announced a new collaboration with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to support a competitive research program to improve pig health, productivity and well-being.
calendar icon 27 March 2018
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The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is a non-profit, established in the 2014 Farm Bill. The end goal of this collaboration is to improve pig survival during all stages of production. The joint venture has $2 million of grant funds available to potential investigators.

As US pork producers strive to produce more pork in a sustainable way; animal care, pig health, well-being and productivity are all critical pieces of production. This grant program is designed to focus research, education and training in these key areas of pork production to help producers achieve their goals in a responsible way.

Dustin Kendall, a swine nutritionist with Prestage Farms in Clinton, North Carolina and chair of the National Pork Board’s Animal Science Committee, commented:

As animal caretakers, America’s pig farmers strive to give their animals the best opportunity to reach marketable weight. Unfortunately, data from the Pork Checkoff’s Industry Productivity Analysis suggests 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.

The grant funding 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.

Sally Rockey, executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, added:

The most meaningful agricultural research is designed in partnership with stakeholders. 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.

Chris Hostetler, director of animal science at the National Pork Board, explained the value of the collaboration:

Investing Checkoff funds in production research makes a real difference at the farm level. 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 Chris Hostetler at [email protected] Applications are due May 15, 2018.

As reported by Pork Checkoff

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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