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Quality Beef Team Receives
USDA Award

The Missouri Quality Beef Team has been selected to receive the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Partnership Award for Mission Integration of Research, Education, or Extension. The award recognizes the outstanding contributions of NIFA partners in land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations. The team was honored at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting awards ceremony Nov. 10 in Washington, D.C.

The interdisciplinary team includes faculty from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and two College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members, Assistant Extension Professor Craig Payne, DVM, MS, and Associate Extension Professor Scott Poock, DVM.

Research for the project has been ongoing since 2005 and has culminated in the Quality Beef by the Numbers program. A joint project of the University and industry, the program’s mission is to improve profitability of beef cow-calf operations. By using applied reproductive and genetic technologies, it aims to increase supply of prime- and choice-grade beef to satisfy domestic and global demand for high-quality beef.

The research has focused on reproductive efficiencies on beef cattle operations primarily through estrus synchronization and artificial insemination. Subsequently, the quality of the beef produced is improved. Payne and Poock have participated by having input into the health programs, specifically by setting up vaccination, precondition and pre-breeding protocols. Their work has contributed to the program by establishing which calves are sired by the elite bulls and increasing the health of the cattle, Poock said.

Additionally, they have been involved in teaching certain techniques used in the research projects, such as ultrasound pregnancy examinations, to practicing veterinarians and veterinary students.

“We work with the local veterinarian if they are interested in learning to use the ultrasound,” Poock said. “Many practicing veterinarians will allow us to do the pregnancy examination when we use the opportunity to teach and give experience to veterinary students. We have taken advantage of this to give many students this opportunity over the past seven years. This has led to many of them using the ultrasound in practice when they leave the College of Veterinary Medicine.”

The NIFA Partnership Award recognizes outcomes in five categories. The Mission Integration of Research, Education, or Extension category, for which the MU team was recognized, honors implementation of a program or project which incorporates, in a meaningful way, full integration of research, education or extension and results in a positive outcome that impacts agriculture, the environment, communities or people. Nominees must demonstrate exemplary program impact and national or international recognition, plus the program or project must have been in place for at least three of the past five years.

Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA’s mission is to lead food and agricultural sciences to create a better future nationally and worldwide by supporting research, education and extension programs through partnerships with federal agencies, land-grant universities and private organizations.

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Last Update: November 21, 2013