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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

CRIS 1932-21410-001-00D Alignment with REE Research Area Priorities
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Climate Change


Information developed via our project activities related to pasture-based small ruminant production will lead to improved agricultural utilization of small, hill-land farms and increased numbers and quality of sheep and goats produced in the humid, temperate Northeast.   These enhancements to the U.S.livestock industry will have minimal adverse effects on climate.


Food Safety

Our project is identifying bioactive pasture species and other plant materials with medicinal properties that can help maintain sheep and goat health.   Decreasing the need to administer pharmaceutical products can help minimize the amount of drug residues in ruminants and, thereby, provide safer meat products for consumers.  


Children’s Nutrition/Health


Our project is investigating new plant materials targeted for medicinal or nutritional uses in livestock to understand how rumen fermentation patterns and nutrient use in sheep and goats are influenced by natural plant compounds.   Improving nutrient-use efficiency and reducing fat in sheep and goats can help produce a nutritious meat product for school lunch programs.

Meat derived from pasture-raised ruminants contains higher levels of health-beneficial antioxidants than that from livestock fed concentrate diets.   Our investigations of antioxidant secondary metabolites in traditional and non-traditional forages and browse will help identify plant materials that can boost the antioxidant capacity and functional value of meats consumed by children.



Global Food Security


Sheep and goat industries worldwide are threatened by the resistance of gastrointestinal parasites to pharmaceutical dewormers.   Our identification of bioactive forages and plant constituents with anthelmintic properties will help ensure economic viability and sustainability of small ruminant production and help provide healthy protein resources to feed a growing world population.

Our research concerns forages and management strategies that promote sheep and goat production on pastures on small farms and on terrain not suitable for cultivated crops.   These animals can contribute significantly to food availability and can provide alternative meat products if concentrated-livestock production systems in the U.S.are compromised.


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Last Modified: 2/17/2010
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