United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
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Slovenia proposed a 'World Bee Day' for May 20 to the United Nations, timed just ahead of the US National Pollinator Month (June) and the National Pollinator Week of June 20-26, and the US World Honey Bee Day on August 20. While the request awaited passage by the UN, the Embassy of Slovenia and the Delegation of the European Union to the United States invited Dr. Jay Evans, Research Leader at the ARS Bee Research Lab in Beltsville Maryland, to serve as a panelist for the Delegation's 'Conversations in Culture Series', a monthly series on diverse topics. The panel was held as part of the European Month of Culture, an annual festival of events that includes participation by the EU Delegation, all 28 Member States and several major US educational and cultural institutions.
A joint ARS and Agricultural Research Council (ARC-South Africa) delegation visited two of four Feed the Future (FtF)-USDA Livestock Improvement Project Community Based Breeding Program (CBBP) sites in Lower Shire, Malawi. CBBPs develop breeding programs directly with small-holder farmers; as part of the African Goat Improvement Network (AGIN), which is a product of the ARS FtF Livestock Project. AGIN is a network of livestock, genetic, and international development and policy experts. The AGIN Model is a novel approach to sustainable livestock improvement in developing countries, integrating direct input and training of farmers, extension, genetics, livestock and international development experts to build sustainable animal genetic improvement to enhance human, livestock and economic health in the community. More information on the FtF-USDA Livestock Improvement Project, and the AGIN can be found at www.ars.usda.gov/AGIN.
The fourth meeting of the African Goat Improvement Network (AGIN) was hosted at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy February 22-24, 2016. AGIN was established by the Feed the Future (FtF) - ARS Livestock Improvement Project. Forty-three participants from 17 countries, representing government and university researchers, international development experts, and post docs and graduate students attended, including representatives from USAID in DC, and the mission in Rome. Specific outcomes include a strategic plan to implement, test, and evaluate a novel approach to livestock development focused on long-term, sustainable solutions via integration of 1) Community Based Breeding Programs (CBBP, i.e. developing breeding criteria and programs directly with small-holder farmers), 2) application of modern genomics and genetic tools based on farmer input for use within the CBBPs, and 3) multi-level networking and capacity building. An AGIN listserv and resources website (www.ars.usda.gov/AGIN) have been created to facilitate knowledge and resource sharing, support and collaboration.