ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Inclusion of a new competitive grants program in the recently passed Farm Bill that will address critical issues impacting animal agriculture is being lauded by the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science (NAAAS). The new program, which is part of the Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security and Stewardship Research, Education and Extension Programs, is authorized for $25 million per year over the life of the Farm Bill. Research will focus on the priority areas of food security, the one health initiative and stewardship.

NAAAS proposed the program last year to address the shortfall in the federal investment regarding animal science. The association relayed it appreciates the efforts of national and state animal agriculture organizations and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to support including the new program in the Farm Bill conference report.

Currently, federal funding to support the animal sciences is not proportionate with animal agriculture’s economic contributions. Livestock and poultry sales account for 40 percent of all farm income. When feed crops consumed by livestock are included, the contribution to farm income is 60 percent. Federal investment in the animal sciences has been declining for many years.

The new competitive grants program provides an opportunity to increase investments in animal research to maintain its status as a leading producer of safe, affordable and abundant food and meet increasing demands.

“This new program comes at a critical time when livestock and poultry producers are striving for global competitiveness, improving sustainability and working to feed a growing global population,” said Dr. Russell Cross, NAAAS president. “We thank Congress for recognizing this need and including the new program proposed by NAAAS.”