Jerry Taylor Demonstrates Research on Genetic Improvements of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle at Capitol Hill Exhibition

National Exhibition demonstrates importance of USDA-funded research in nutrition, obesity, sustainability, energy, healthy forests and more

As Congress considers the Farm Bill and agricultural appropriations, agricultural researchers from a variety of disciplines updated Congressional members and staff on research covering current challenges and emerging threats in agriculture, food, and natural resources.

Jerry Taylor, Curators Professor of Genetics and Animal Sciences and Wurdack Chair of Animal Genomics in the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, was part of the national exhibition June 6 in Washington, D.C., to help demonstrate how multiple types of U.S. Department of Agriculture funding (intramural, extramural, competitive, and capacity) work together to bolster American innovation.

His exhibit focuses on feed efficiency – specifically, how DNA-based prediction models can be used to breed cattle that more efficiently utilize feed.

“If we can identify and selectively breed the animals that have the best combination of genes for producing high quality beef with the least amount of grain, their progeny could reduce environmental impacts and save producers millions of dollars,” Taylor said. The research completed by this grant has enabled U.S. beef breed associations, such as Angus, Hereford and Red Angus, to begin reporting feed efficiency predictions for beef farmers and ranchers to use.

Taylor’s exhibit is one of 36 exhibits from more than 20 universities as well as numerous scientific professional societies, USDA agencies and others. The event is hosted by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), AFRI Coalition, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR), and Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR), and helped show members of Congress and their staffs the importance of funding agricultural research.

“Research and education in food, agriculture, and natural resource issues has become more critical in solving many societal challenges. If we want to decrease obesity and malnutrition, control invasive species, improve the vitality of our rural communities, and provide clean water, healthy forests, abundant fish and wildlife, and sustainable energy, then the U.S. needs to invest far more in the agricultural research, education and Extension system,” said Ian Maw, APLU vice president of food, agriculture and natural resources. “The research shared at this event represents only tiny fraction of the incredible work being carried out in the U.S. and an even smaller fraction of what could be accomplished with increased funding,”