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Summary: NRCS Symposium

By: Anne Zinn

On the afternoon of July 19 at the ASAS Annual Meeting, the National Resources Conservation Services featured a session where animal science meets conservation practice innovation. 

The session began with Dr. Sara Place (Colorado State University), who discussed leveraging feed technologies to reduce methane emissions from livestock; she discussed the promising approaches to reducing methane emissions from livestock from the past decade and highlighted new methods and technologies that have the potential to transform livestock production for greater economic and environmental gains in the near future. 

To follow, Dr. Kristi Cammack (South Dakota State University) discussed the importance of creating market opportunities for and supporting producer implementation of climate-smart animal and land-management  practices, especially within underrepresented and tribal beef and buffalo producers. Cammack demonstrated this by sharing about different partnerships among universities, beef producers, and other organizations working towards the common goal of sustainability of agriculture for generations to come.  

Next, Greg Zwicke and Renee Leech of the USDA-NRCS presented on how the NRCS uses science-based technology to provide conservation planning and assistance to landowners, operators, and producers to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, animals, and energy to support productive lands and healthy ecosystems. Zwicke and Leech shared different opportunities for financial and technical assistance for livestock production and conservation and various grant programs available for innovative conservation research on farm lands.  

After a short break, Julie Adamchick (World Wildlife Fund) explored the critical components of a sustainable feed strategy, outlining regenerative agriculture and responsible sourcing for a climate-resilient global feed system, and Leah Wilkinson (American Feed Industry Association) highlighted recent developments in the feed industry, including innovations in food manufacturing and policy change focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory processes, all with the goal of sustainable change. 

Sustainability and efficiency in the face of climate change remains a critical issue within the fields of animal science and natural resources; innovative approaches will push the industry forward.