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Texas A&M-Kingsville awarded $4.7M grant as part of USDA's partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative

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 KINGSVILLE (December 15, 2022) — Texas A&M University-Kingsville has received a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.

Dr. E. Ann Staiger, an assistant professor in animal science with a focus on genetics, will serve as the principal investigator for the project titled “Permanently Reshaping the National Beef Herd through Grassroots Genetic Selection for Climate-Smart Outcomes.” Researchers will look at the possibility of producing low-emission cattle herds that create reduced methane emissions and are more feed efficient.

“From the teaching-learning standpoint, this is going to be great because this is going to involve students in the research,” Staiger said. “A lot of our students do stay in this region, so if they understand how to manage their cattle, how to apply this new technology and genetic testing, that’s going to make them more profitable and be able to maintain their business long-term.”

Texas A&M-Kingsville will partner with Leachman Cattle of Colorado, Brahman County Genetics and Brahman Country Beef and Zoetis on the research project.

“The impact of these studies will benefit local small-sized cattle producers, with anticipated results to lower methane greenhouse gases when implemented among even the largest scale beef producing regions of the U.S.,” said Dr. Shad Nelson, dean of the Dick & Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture & Natural Resources. “The preservation of key agricultural commodities and managing such resources in environmentally sustainable ways is of great importance to our Texas stakeholders and cattle producers.

“This ‘Climate Smart Commodities’ grant brings recognition to Texas A&M University—Kingsville and the great applied research programs that exist to better serve the cattle industry.”

As part of the project, researchers will also partner with underserved producers and younger, first-generation cattle ranches while also offering mentorship and support throughout the process.

 “Texas A&M University-Kingsville is proud to play a role in developing climate-smart agricultural practices,” university President Dr. Robert Vela Jr. said. “Not only will this research address such practices related to the subtropical-adapted cattle in our region, but it also provides our students with experiential opportunities that are directly linked to improving their communities and their futures.”

“Dr. Staiger’s work in this field is incredibly important to advancing genomic innovation that will impact how ranchers effectively manage cattle while doing so in a manner that will help protect our environment,” Vela added.

Among the 71 Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects announced on Dec. 12, represented are 30 minority-serving institutions, over 20 tribal partners and several groups who will be working with small and underserved producers. Texas A&M-Kingsville is one of the six projects selected that have a Hispanic-Serving Institution as project lead.

The full list of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities can be found on the USDA website at https://www.usda.gov/climate-solutions/climate-smart-commodities/projects.

About Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities are part of USDA’s broader strategy to position agriculture and forestry as leaders in climate change mitigation through voluntary, incentive-based, market-driven approaches. Visit https://www.usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities to learn more about this effort, and https://www.usda.gov/climate-solutions for climate-related updates, resources and tools across the Department. 


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