The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences provides extension program and outreach to move agriculture forward and assist producers and processors in all areas of their operations.
Extension specialists in Animal & Dairy Science are working toward solutions for each of the Grand Challenges.
Animal welfare is a complex and multi-faceted issue that reflects the integration of traditional animal science disciplines and their interactions with the environment. It is critical to the social license of animal production and the economic viability of livestock farming, and it is the lens through which both scientists and consumers will view new tools and strategies in nutrition, physiology, genetics, and management. Outreach programs will:
- Provide research-based solutions for end users.
- Engage stakeholders in science-based discussions that will ensure the implementation of best practices and advance our collective knowledge of animal health and welfare.
Traditional processes for development, testing, and approval of new pharmaceuticals are extremely costly, and success rates in human subjects are low. Livestock are effective models for many human diseases and disorders, especially when coupled with gene editing and other biotechnologies. Furthermore, various co-products of meat, milk, or egg production, which were historically discarded as waste, may have bioactive properties that can provide novel therapies or nutritional supplements to improve human or animal health. Outreach programs will:
- Develop relationships with livestock and poultry producers, consumers, veterinarians, and medical professionals.
- Engage the biomedical and biopharmaceutical industries.
- Promote the use of co-products derived from animal harvest and processing.
- Further societal understanding of the role of animals in medical research.
A steady supply of safe and nutritious animal-based proteins is the foundation of global food security. It is our responsibility to protect consumers from harmful agents that can endanger public health, from the farm to the table. In addition, we must deliver food products that meet the nutritional requirements of the generic consumer, reduce the prevalence of obesity-related health disorders, and accommodate the specific dietary needs of individuals with unique nutritional demands or underlying medical conditions. Outreach programs will:
- Convey the results and conclusions of food safety research to the public sector.
- Use traditional educational approaches and novel instructional technologies to improve food safety practices among consumers.
- Facilitate the implementation of new strategies and technologies for controlling pathogens in farming, transport, processing, package, and retail sectors.
The demand for animal-based proteins continues to grow as our population expands, but livestock farming must compete with commercial, residential, and recreational users of land and water resources. Animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions but also suffers from the effects of global warming and climate variability. Fluency in integrating nutritional management and feed production at the system level will become as important as knowledge of basic nutrition and physiology concepts at the animal level. Outreach programs will:
- Disseminate research-based adaptations and solutions to
- Promote the implementation of these adaptations and solutions to improve animal production efficiency and ensure optimal stewardship of land and water resources.
Technologies for monitoring the behavior, physiology, and health of domestic animals, as well as machine learning algorithms for interpreting big data, have progressed at an astonishing rate. These tools provide unprecedented opportunities to advance animal welfare, enhance labor efficiency, improve economic returns, and minimize the environmental impact of livestock operations, if they are implemented in a strategic and cost-effective manner. Outreach programs will:
- Convey the results and discoveries of precision livestock farming tools to producers, consumers, and industry stakeholders.
- Train farmers and agribusiness professionals to use new technologies, understand their features and limitations, and foster cost-effective implementation.