M-AAA awards more than $600K in grants for MSU animal agriculture research

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Red angus cattle at the MSU AgBioResearch Lake City Research Center (view larger image)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Seventeen Michigan State University (MSU) researchers and Extension outreach and education specialists have received more than $600,000 in funding from the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA).

The M-AAA (formerly the Animal Agriculture Initiative) is a partnership between Michigan’s animal agriculture industries, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension. It focuses on advancing the state’s animal agriculture economy by supporting applied research and outreach efforts that address key issues identified by the industry. 

The Michigan food and agriculture system contributes roughly $100 billion annually to the state’s economy and provides nearly 1 million jobs. About 37 percent of the agricultural products sold are attributed to the animal agriculture sector, so it is a critical component of Michigan’s economy. 

Thirty-six proposals, requesting approximately $1.4 million, were submitted to M-AAA for consideration in three categories: applied research, Extension efforts and seed grants. All proposals were required to identify anticipated benefits to Michigan animal agriculture and to align with the annual priorities of one or more of the following animal agriculture stakeholder organizations:

  • Michigan Allied Poultry Industry.
  • Michigan Cattlemen’s Association.
  • Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Michigan Farm Bureau.
  • Michigan Horse Industry.
  • Michigan Milk Producers Association.
  • Michigan Pork Producers.
  • Michigan Sheep Breeders Association.

Evaluation criteria included: 

  • Relevance to the Michigan animal agriculture industry and annual priorities.
  • Potential long-term impact.
  • Technical merit and feasibility.
  • Investigator qualifications.
  • Mechanisms to deliver information generated to relevant commodity groups.
  • Leverage of external and other funding sources and extent of partnering with Michigan animal agriculture industries.

Seventeen projects, totaling $630,780, were selected for funding. The proposals address issues related to workforce education, nutrient management, health and welfare, sustainability and profitability across beef, dairy, horse, poultry, sheep and or swine industries.

George Smith, MSU AgBioResearch acting associate director, is in charge of administering the M-AAA grants program.

“These M-AAA research and Extension projects continue to exemplify the strong history of successful partnerships between the Michigan animal agriculture commodity groups and MSU to help grow the animal agriculture economy, enhance employment opportunities, and build economic vitality and sustainability for the entire state,” Smith said. “Michigan’s relatively stable climate, the availability of water and locally produced feedstuffs, and the progressive nature of its animal agriculture producers are foundational to the strength of this partnership and our collective goals.” 

Ray Hammerschmidt, MSU Extension interim director, called the program a valuable tool in helping expand the knowledge of Michigan’s food producers.

“This gives our educators an opportunity to multiply the great work they already do,” he said. “This helps ensure that the good research we do around the state gets into the hands of the farmers who can put it into practice on their farms.”

For more information on M-AAA, visit the MSU AgBioResearch Competitive Grants System.


MSU AgBioResearch engages in innovative, leading-edge research that combines scientific expertise with practical experience to generate economic prosperity, sustain natural resources, and enhance the quality of life in Michigan, the nation and the world. It encompasses the work of more than 300 scientists in seven MSU colleges – Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Letters, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, Social Science and Veterinary Medicine – and has a network of 13 research centers across the state.

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