Cornell University is co-leading a $9.95 million, five-year U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant that aims to transform nutrition and water use in the poultry industry in order to improve its environmental impact and enhance human health.
The grant, awarded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and co-led by the University of Arkansas, is among the largest grants ever awarded by the USDA, and dovetails with Cornell’s land-grant missions of research, extension, and teaching. “Poultry is a major animal source of protein to Americans, so it will be a great opportunity for us to improve production efficiency, quality of the meat, and economic returns with added values for the producers,” said Xingen Lei, professor in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-principal investigator. “It’s an effective way for us to make an impact.”
One of the projects Lei will lead involves using microalgae as an alternative feed protein. “What we want to do in this case is use microalgae to replace soybeans—this will reduce the competition between feed and food,” he said. “Also, microalgae capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this will make production greener.”
Lei said his lab has already made strides working with algae as a protein-rich food source. However, algae are expensive compared with soybean meal, the current source of protein in commercial poultry diets. His goal is to improve the nutritional quality and the environmental value of the feed while making it more affordable and practical for farmers to use.
Through microalgae, researchers can introduce enzymes that favor unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. In collaboration with Kimberly O’Brien, professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Human Ecology, Lei will look for ways to improve the chickens’ overall health and, by extension, the consumers’ health.
Researchers at the University of Arkansas will be developing ways to improve chickens’ gut health and resistance to disease, in addition to exploring how the industry can use water more efficiently.
Of the total funding, $1 million will go toward teaching and another $1 million toward extension. Minority representation in poultry science will be an important focus, researchers said.
“One of the main goals is to raise awareness about the impact of our food system on planetary health and to educate the next generation of food and agricultural leaders about sustainable agricultural practices,” said Dennis Miller, professor of food science and nutrition. “We hope to meet this goal through student internships in faculty research labs, a new undergraduate minor in sustainable agricultural systems and a Master of Professional Studies program in sustainable agricultural systems.”
General Mills has reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year that ended May 31, 2020.
As part of its commitment to sustainably nourish the world, Cargill has released its mid-year report on its progress toward building a deforestation-free soy supply chain.
Customer transactions at major U.S. restaurant chains declined by 13% in the week ending June 21 versus the same week one year ago, which is slightly softer than the 12% decline in the previous week, reported The NPD Group.
Rabobank, a leader in global food and agriculture financing, has published the report, Will Consumers Stick with Online Grocery?
According to Reuters, U.S. supermarket operator Albertsons decided to go ahead with a downsized $800 million initial public offering (IPO) on June 25, the culmination of multiple attempts by its private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management LP to cash out.
Chicago Section IFT Annual Suppliers’ Symposium & Expo
Rosemont, Illinois, United States