Secretary Russell Redding called for research proposals that will strengthen and grow Pennsylvania’s poultry, swine, lamb, sheep and goat farming industries. Funded by the 2019 PA Farm Bill, $375,000 is available for projects to enhance biosecurity, diagnostic testing, veterinary telemedicine and other strategies to prevent, detect and manage animal diseases and protect the food supply.
“Science has made the food we eat safer and more abundant,” said Redding. “And science holds the keys to staying ahead of evolving diseases that bring catastrophic losses on the farm, devastate our economy and literally break the food supply chain. We’re looking to fund projects that will help Pennsylvania produce food even more safely, humanely and efficiently, regardless of the size of the farm operation and the challenges each presents.”
The 2019 PA Farm Bill created the Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence, which is managed by PennAg Industries Association. The center’s board will review projects to be funded and assess their potential to meet the grant’s goals.
“I often reflect on the statement ‘proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance,’” said PennAg Executive Vice President Chris Herr. “This statement represents the focus of the funding opportunities this year. The center will concentrate on tools needed and preparedness for the lamb, sheep, goat, swine and poultry farmers across the commonwealth.”
Funding priorities are as follows.
$250,000 will be allocated for:
- Developing innovative methods to manage disease outbreaks in humane, safe, practical and efficient ways in large-scale livestock and poultry operations.
- Practical biosecurity implementation for commercial and backyard domestic livestock operations, recognizing threats such operations face from wildlife and inherent risks operations pose to each other.
- Increase diagnostic tools available through the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory system to support food-animal production with focus on enhanced to detect, differentiate and manage pathogens.
- Development, training and opportunities for food animal veterinarians to explore the capability of remote telemedicine to address challenges of supporting livestock health and animal productivity in rural Pennsylvania.
Approximately $125,000 will be allocated for projects to:
- Study various culturally-based live-animal sale practices to improve disease traceability in custom-butchered animals.
- Solicitation of industry input on specific diseases to identify and estimate the economic impact on PA food-animal operations.
- Establish protocols to mediate, prevent and eradicate bed bugs on poultry farms.
Proposals must be received by 11 a.m. on December 2, 2020. Applications whose proposals are accepted for funding will be notified by December 14.