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February 15, 2020

CSU creates Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative

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Colorado State University has established the Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative. (Photo by Savannah Waggoner/Colorado State University)

Colorado State University has established a collaborative to support the sustainable and healthy production of livestock to address the projected global demand for increased food sources.

The Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative, the university announced this past December, will allow CSU livestock and animal health experts to work with industry stakeholders and the government to address current and future challenges facing the industry while also training professionals.

The effort is being led by the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences and the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

The central goal of the project includes looking at how to enhance sustainable and healthy livestock systems through new technologies and disease treatment. The collaborative will also look at soil, plant, animal, and atmospheric microbiomes.

Dr. Susan VandeWoude, associate dean for research at the veterinary college, said the project will produce research and training materials on how agriculture will work over the next century, while taking into consideration environmental and production stressors.

“CSU is committed to contributing evidence-based knowledge in support of sustainable livestock production because it’s critical for the future of the livestock industry,” said Dr. VandeWoude, in a press release. “We are very committed and open minded to using all of the resources of the land-grant university.”

Some potential focus areas for the collaborative include the following:

  • Veterinary epidemiology.
  • Spatial modeling of disease transmission and spread across landscape levels.
  • Livestock and dairy systems analysis for productive efficiency, animal health, and environmental sustainability.
  • Risk management and profitability analysis for livestock and dairy at enterprise, farm, and macroeconomic levels.
  • Innovation in livestock and dairy production and health monitoring using novel technologies.
  • Innovative training programs for undergraduate, veterinary professional, and postgraduate students.
  • Livestock and dairy welfare and behavior in production systems.

The university has tapped experts within CSU and reached out to industry experts such as the Colorado Beef Council, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, and the Colorado Livestock Association, in the formation of the collaborative.

The CSU Extension, a division of the CSU Office of Engagement, will provide outreach and share research and information from the collaborative with the livestock community, Dr. VandeWoude said.

James Pritchett, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, said the collaborative is an intentional effort led by scientists, educators, and industry professionals to meet challenges.

“It’s knowledge creation at its best,” he said in the press release. “Success is not only answering the questions of today but is also building a nimble and adaptive collection of talent to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”