Livestock plays an increasingly important role in ensuring food security in the developing world by providing desperately needed high quality protein through animal source foods, draft power and natural fertilizer, and serving as an economic boost to small holder farmers.
Consumption of animal source foods is expected to increase by 50% in the next 30 years. Animals are essential for modern cropping systems that are intensifying production on limited marginal land. In the developing world, where most production is from the smallholder sector, climate change and heat stress impede livestock production and are major constraints to sustainability of food security and animal agriculture.
There is an extreme need to identify the underlying genetic and physiological control of heat stress and drought tolerance in livestock. Further, climate change-induced emergence and re-emergence of diseases, vector-borne diseases and ectoparasites are expected to increase losses of up to 15% of livestock production. Development of new vaccines or identifying genetically disease resistant animals will be essential for improved food security
and sustainable livelihoods. Identifying and/or breeding of more feed efficient animals or ones that can
prosper on crop residues may provide more animal source protein, lessen competition with human food
production, and mitigate the effects of green-house gas emissions.
GFSC members include animal science faculty, researchers, and experts from Iowa State University and other partner universities, research institutions, and private industry who are working on solving solutions to livestock and food security issues. Some of our current projects: