unprecedented, especially in developing countries, and will require a “livestock revolution” (Delgado et al., 1999).The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that feeding the world population in 2050 will require a 58% increase in meat production to produce a total of 470 million tons to meet the demand for animal protein (FAO, 2009), which would require exceptional growth in the production of animals and animal products.
Role of Research and Development in Animal Productivity
The United States has been fortunate in its abundance of natural resources to support agriculture, but recent success in the agricultural sector has been based on unparalleled advances in effective research that have resulted in remarkable gains in agricultural productivity. The ability to apply key research findings and technologies to enhancing the agricultural productivity has improved animal productivity and enabled farmers to produce more meat and milk products to meet growing demand while reducing resource use. For instance, increased animal productivity has enabled an increase in total milk production through increased production per cow even though the number of US dairy herds has decreased. The United States has also made progress in eliminating many of the livestock and poultry diseases that are still found in animal populations in other countries. However, there is concern about the future levels of investment in agricultural research and development that are required for continued scientific advances that can benefit US consumers and businesses and that can sustain our ability to be a global leader and producer.
US investment in an effective animal-health infrastructure, at both the state and national levels, has been instrumental in improving the health of our livestock and poultry populations and in protecting them against the incursion of foreign animal diseases (FADs) and the spread of endemic animal diseases. Through effective federal-state partnerships, animal-health officials continue to reduce and eliminate costly animal diseases, such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, pseudorabies, and exotic Newcastle disease. As a result, US producers have been able to focus on raising livestock and poultry with higher productivity values compared to those of other countries, where food animals are produced under the burden of diseases and parasites that greatly decrease their productivity, threaten public health through of zoonoses (diseases transmitted between humans and animals), and reduce food security.
Vulnerability of Animal Agriculture
US consumers have a stable, abundant, nutritious, and safe food supply. The stability of the food system is put at risk in part because of factors that drive the emergence of disease and disease vectors, and also due in part to factors that intensify and expand the interface between humans and animals and their prod-