Home 5 Ag Stories Financial investment in animal research is low

Financial investment in animal research is low

by Ben Nuelle LISTEN: Money Matters 8-4-16

The gross domestic product of agriculture as a business is about $400 billion per year. Roughly half is animal agriculture at $200 billion per year. Looking at investment, less than $100 million is going into animal research. Is this a problem? More in a moment.

Dr. Marcus Kerhli is Director at the USDA’s National Animal Disease Center.

He says less than 2 tenths of a percent of GDP of animal agriculture is being invested back into research.

“Any business that’s going to grow itself that is going to be based on biotechnology and good solid science has to invest in research to stay ahead of the curve and emerging diseases livestock and poultry producers have been experiencing. We experience more than one disease a year emerging somewhere on planet earth over the last three decades. We don’t have the resources from a research prospective to address those problems.”

Kerhli says when you compare funding of medical versus veterinary, veterinary receives less.

He says we really need to invest more with permanent funding on the USDA side.

“So that we’re training the future generations of researchers that can fill the voids we have. We’re not adequately funding the competitive grant system for the universities and similarly the in-house branch does a lot of very high risk research but today where I work we have half as many scientists as we did 30 years ago.”

Kerhli hopes the One Health Innitative will bridge the funding gap between the medical and veterinary side. One Health is a movement to forge co-equal collaborations with both industries.