The National Pork Producers Council has applauded the launch of a new research and education arm within the US Department of Agriculture.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which was created under the 2008 Farm Bill, will “advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.” NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. Among other areas the agency is expected to focus on are animal health and animal genomes.
“The US pork industry has long supported more research on issues such as animal well-being, food safety, nutrition and the environment,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “NIFA will perform an invaluable service to our industry and all of agriculture by funding much-needed research and education on matters that affect America’s farmers and ranchers.”
NIFA, which also administers the national 4-H program, USDA’s 105-year-old youth development program, is directed by Dr. Roger Beachy, who reports to USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Rajiv Shah.
“NIFA will be the department’s extramural research enterprise,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in launching the agency. “It is no exaggeration to say that NIFA will be a research ‘start-up’ company. We will be rebuilding our competitive grants program from the ground up to generate real results for the American people.
“I am asking today for a commitment of will and energy to bring about our generation’s new era of agricultural science,” Vilsack added. “I look forward to charting a course together to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery in the agricultural sciences, speed the application of new knowledge to address challenges facing U.S. and global food and agriculture and translate new knowledge into tangible benefits for the American people and the world.”
“We look forward to working with Sec. Vilsack, Dr. Shah and Dr. Beachy in supporting research and science that will help the US pork industry continue to produce the safest, most nutrition meat protein for consumers worldwide,” said NPPC’s Butler.