ICASA Solicits Call for Research Concepts to Address Infectious Cattle and Pig Diseases

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2020) –The International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA), one of the largest public-private partnerships focused on antibiotic stewardship in animal agriculture, is soliciting calls for research concepts related to metaphylaxis, an approach to controlling infectious diseases in beef cattle and pigs.

Infectious outbreaks in cattle and pigs can be difficult to detect and prevent with the tools that are currently available. As a result, it can be challenging to know the best time to treat animals and which animals will benefit most from treatment. Without the proper tools to identify affected animals, diseases spread rapidly and can have significant impacts for producers. For example, one of the most prevalent and economically important diseases affecting cattle is bovine respiratory disease (BRD), which affects approximately 20 percent of cattle and costs producers $800-900 million annually.

One approach to treating and controlling BRD and other infectious diseases is called metaphylaxis, in which a group of animals is treated at the same time to prevent the disease from spreading and affecting many animals. However, it is a challenge to know when to use metaphylaxis and how to best identify and exclude animals that may not need treatment. More accurate detection tools and strategies are needed to better predict the occurrence of infectious diseases in cattle and pigs while enhancing animal welfare and preserving the economic sustainability of the industry.

ICASA is soliciting research concepts to develop tools that enable producers and veterinarians to identify the animals at highest risk of infectious diseases and those that would benefit most from treatment. Such tools would enable more targeted approaches to metaphylaxis. Separately, researchers should address how metaphylaxis impacts the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and/or develop health and management practices that improve health outcomes in beef cattle and pigs.

“ICASA is working across the industry to tackle the complicated problem of when and how to best administer antibiotics in livestock to improve animal welfare,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “We are looking forward to reviewing proposals for strategies and technologies that improve metaphylaxis and ensure the judicious use of antibiotics.

Additional information about the call for research concepts is available on the ICASA website. Pre-applications are due June 17, 2020 and must be submitted via FFAR’s online portal. Applications will be reviewed by ICASA participants and will be evaluated on a variety of factors including potential for supply chain implementation, potential for impact, likelihood for successful completion, originality, key personnel qualifications and strength of partnerships.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) created ICASA in 2019 to facilitate research that promotes the judicious use of antibiotics, advances animal health and welfare and increases transparency in food production practices. ICASA improves antibiotic stewardship by building cross-sector partnerships among participants representing all stages of the US livestock supply chain.

###

About the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture

The International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA) is a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture. ICASA’s research promotes the judicious use of antibiotics, advances animal health and wellness, and increases transparency in food production practices.

FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment is matched by the ICASA participants for a total investment of $15 million in antimicrobial stewardship research. ICASA’s founding participants include: Advanced Animal Diagnostics, the Beef Alliance, Cactus Research, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, HyPlains Research and Education Center, JBS USA, McDonald’s, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Board, the Noble Research Institute, Pipestone Veterinary Services, Tyson Foods, US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and Veterinary Research and Consulting Services.

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Continue

Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.

FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.

The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.

Protein Challenge

Protein Challenge

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.

The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.

Food Waste and Loss

Food Waste and Loss

Continue

About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.

Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability

Continue

Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.

Urban Food Systems

Urban Food Systems

Continue

The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.

The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.

Making My Plate Your Plate

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.