Animal Improvement Programs Lab Honored for
Technology Transfer By
February 7, 2001
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 7--The
Agricultural Research Service honors a
team of agency animal scientists at the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory
(AIPL) here today.
ARS Administrator Floyd P. Horn will present awards to the team
and other ARS scientists at a Feb. 7 ceremony at the agency's
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center. ARS is the chief research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The ARS team members will receive silver plaques for success in
developing, implementing and enhancing computing procedures and electronic
delivery systems that allow more rapid identification of genetically superior
The award recognizes ARSs
Animal Improvement Programs
Laboratory for initiating a project that speeds up the rate of genetic
improvement of milk yield in dairy cows, said Horn. To achieve
this, team members--led by geneticist H. Duane Norman- -provide breeders with
more timely information to identify dairy cattle with the highest genetic
In addition to Norman, the award recipents are geneticists Rex.
L. Powell, George R. Wiggans, Curtis P. Van Tassell and Paul M. VanRaden; and
support staff Lillian R. Bacheller, Jill C. Philpot and Leigh M. Walton.
The AIPL is responsible for evaluating the genetics of dairy
cattle--information vital to dairy breeders and breeding companies looking for
the next generation of the U.S. milking herds 9.2 million cows. The
researchers system for calculating and delivering national genetic
evaluations of dairy cattle has been essential for increasing the average
yearly milk yield of each successive generation of U.S. dairy cattle by 150
gallons per cow.
To estimate the genetic merit of dairy cows, four time a year
the AIPL staff must process nearly 70 million milk records. The AIPL make these
evaluations available to 40,000 dairy breeders, artificial-insemination
organizations, extension specialists, dairy records processing centers, breed
registry societies and university researchers. They are also used by
counterpart groups worldwide.
AIPL's new evaluation system reduces by over one-half the time
elapsed between receiving the incoming information and releasing the genetic
evaluations to industry. Because of this time savings--and the fact that the
information is processed twice as often--users receive the new data an average
of 11 weeks sooner than in the past.
Reducing this informational lag time has been one key way to
increase the rate of genetic improvement. The AIPL project annually is
providing around $60 million of additional value to U.S. dairy producers and
consumers while saving $136,000 a year at the laboratory. And because genetic
improvement is permanent, these gains are perpetuated and compounded over the
AIPL reports the ranking data quarterly and makes the
information available to producers globally via its website at
http://aipl.arsusda.gov. AIPL also provides an electronic file-transfer system
via the Internet for cooperating user organizations and makes common files
available to the general public.
Over the last 6 years, the AIPL team collectively and
individually have received numerous government, industry and professional
awards including Government Executive magazines leadership award,
the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (Vice-Presidents
Hammer) Award, the Outstanding Service Award of the National Dairy Herd
Four geneticists on the team each received the American Dairy
Science Associations J. L. Lush Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics and
three received the National Association of Animal Breeders Research
Award--two of the highest genetics award given.
Scientific contact: H. Duane Norman, Animal Improvement
Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-8334, fax (301) 504-8090,