USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced on Tuesday $24 million in grants to study animal heath, reproduction, breeding, genetics and nutrition. The agriculture animal industry plays a crucial role in the success and growth of the nation's economy, accounting for 42 percent of forecast U.S. agricultural receipts in 2009.

"The agriculture animal industry faces increasing challenges from animal diseases, reduced fertility, low nutrition and growth and non-tariff trade barriers," says Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "These grants will help the United States maintain a strong, internationally-competitive animal agriculture industry and lead to safer and more affordable animal products."

NIFA awarded these grants through four program areas of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI): Animal Reproduction Program; Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program; Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization Program; and Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture Program. AFRI funds research, education, and extension grants and integrated research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.

See the list of grants.

Source: USDA