August, 2016

    September 6, 2016


    USDA Announces Stakeholder Webinar Series on Animal Health Research Priorities

    On August 24th, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced a series of webinars to solicit stakeholder input on animal research priorities. The webinars will be used to identify, discuss, and prioritize the most pressing research, education and extension needs for animal health research.

    The webinar series will cover 13 different topics ranging from specific species to crosscutting issues. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and slots are limited. Where possible, USDA requests that multiple participants at the same location register only once and join the webinar as a group to make the best use of the available slots. After the webinar a recording and copy of the slides will be made available.

    USDA is also seeking input prior to the webinars. USDA is asking stakeholders to provide their top five animal health issues are via email to Please include the webinar topic in the subject line. All comments received by September 30, 2016 will be reviewed and incorporated into the discussion. Please limit your submission to 500 characters as only the first 500 characters will be reviewed.

    Even if you are unable to attend the webinar, USDA encourages stakeholders to provide input on what they consider are the top 5 animal health issues, including information on: where the largest gaps of knowledge lie; what types of research, education or extension questions need to be answered; and what tools are needed to address the knowledge gaps and what research is needed to develop such tools.

    More information about the webinar series can be found by clicking here.

    Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Announces Advisory Councils

    On August 10th, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced that it has formed six advisory councils to assist the foundation regarding program development and implementation, potential partnerships to address food and agriculture challenges. Council members will serve two or year terms.

    Membership in the advisory council on Sustainable Farm Animal Productivity, Resilience, and Health is listed below. Dr. Morgan Scott of Texas A&M University will serve as Chair of this council.


    Sheila Andrew, Ph.D.
    University of Connecticut
    Lisa Becton, D.V.M.
    National Pork Board
    Sebastian Belle
    Maine Aquaculture Association; Econ-Aqua; TAAG
    Barry Bradford, Ph.D.
    Kansas State University
    D. Layne Coppock, Ph.D.
    Utah State University
    Lauren Gwin, Ph.D.
    Oregon State University; Niche Meat Processor Assistant Network
    G. Donald Ritter, D.V.M.
    Mountaire Farms
    *Harvey Morgan Scott, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Texas A&M University
    John Smith, D.V.M.
    Fieldale Farms Corporation
    Duane Theuninck, Ph.D.
    Cargill, Inc.
    Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D.
    University of California, Davis

    More information on FFAR and the advisory councils can be found by clicking here.

    President Signs GMO Labeling Legislation

    On July 31st, President Obama signed legislation that would establish a federal policy on labeling of GMO food products. The bill had passed the Senate and House with strong bipartisan support and was seen as a workable compromise to establish a federal policy on labeling of GMO food products and preempts individual state labeling laws. The State of Vermont was one of the first states to pass its own labeling law, which went into effect on July 1, 2016. Vermont officials stated that they would stop enforcing the law after President Obama signed the new federal legislation into law. Under the new policy, companies will have the option to include an on-package statement about GMO contents, or point consumers to a website for more product information. Products from animals that consume GMOs would not be subject to any labeling requirements. The text of the legislation can be found here.

    One final thing: Don’t forget to listen to our recorded Science Policy update that is posted below.