HELPING FARMERS: MSU NETS MORE THAN $3.9 MILLION IN USDA GRANTS

Michigan State University has netted more than $3.9 million in grants from the United States Department of Agriculture to help Michigan farmers adapt to changing climate, tackle food safety issues, and help small- and medium-sized farms better compete in the marketplace.

The grants were awarded through the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and administered through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. A description of each initiative follows:

  • Improving the meat quality of turkey – Gale Strasburg, professor of food science and human nutrition, will use a $975,000 grant to help turkeys better adapt to extreme weather changes that can affect the overall quality of the meat.
  • Reducing salmonella risk of low-moisture foods – Sanghyup Jeong, assistant professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering, is using the more than $380,000 grant to tackle the growing problem of salmonella outbreaks involving dry products, such as almonds.
  • Reducing foodborne transmission of STEC – Julie Funk, associate professor of large animal and clinical sciences, has earned a nearly $300,000 grant to study the roles of pigs in transmitting shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, to humans.
  • Using genomic tools to bolster food safety – Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research, will use a nearly $300,000 grant to incorporate the latest next-generation genomic tools in reducing the number of foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce.
  • Improving Michigan-based meat supply chains – Richard Pirog, Center for Regional Food Systems senior associate director, will use a $500,000 grant to increase the viability of small- and medium-sized livestock producers in local and regional markets.
  • Collective entrepreneurship to benefit small- and medium-sized farms – Brent Ross, agricultural, food and resource economics assistant professor, will use a nearly $500,000 grant to help farmers take advantage of networks, continuing education and entrepreneurial activities.
  • Boosting Michigan grass-finished beef production – Jason Rowntree, animal science assistant professor, has netted a nearly $460,000 grant to support small farms striving to fill the regional demand for locally sourced, grass-finished beef.
  • Establish an incubator farm – Matthew Raven, community sustainability professor, will use a nearly $500,000 grant to establish an incubator farm at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center to help U.P. residents and students enter the agriculture industry.