2023 NCBA: Colorado State University’s AgNext focused on real-time solutions for livestock producers

New initiative to research and develop sustainable solutions in animal agriculture
calendar icon 13 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

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Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of Colorado State University (CSU), recently spoke with The Cattle Site’s Sarah Mikesell about CSU’s AgNext at the National Cattlemen Beef Association’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

What is AgNext?

“AgNext is a new initiative that focuses on the development of sustainable solutions for animal agriculture. We sit between the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences,” Stackhouse-Lawson said. “Our mission is forward-looking. It's a very focus-forward group where we innovate in real-time solutions that improve the health of animals and the health of ecosystems.”

AgNext is focused on enhancing the profitability of producers and supporting rural communities that are important to food security.

A point of differentiation is that CSU is approaching research differently than other universities with the AgNext initiative.

“One of the ways we're doing that is through our industry innovation working group, which is a group of industry professionals, who provide constant engagement around not only things like our mission and vision, but the work that we are doing in the positions that we are hiring,” she said.

CSU has committed a total of 12 tenured faculty to be hired into the AgNext system through a strategic cluster hire. In 2022, CSU has already hired seven of the positions, so the momentum is strong. Plus, CSU has a website to provide additional information.

“We will have 12 dedicated faculty that work together and across the campus and are supported by an incredible group of PR professionals to be sure that we're not only leading the space in innovation and research but also really doing a good job communicating not just to stakeholders who think about sustainability, but also to those producers who are working in real-time to implement solutions on the ground,” she said.

Expectations for AgNext

“We're passionate about the development of solutions and working through science-based methods, so research that will offer those solutions and can provide a ‘win-win’ for our producers,” she said.

AgNext has assembled a team of experts to focus on things like methane mitigation, economic assessments, ecosystem services and precision technology.

“The spectrum that we cover is holistic in terms of our sustainability, but what we're really excited about for producers is providing those solutions to them, where they can be assured that it's a net benefit to their production system,” she explained.

AgNext will provide solutions that may reduce greenhouse gases and improve animal productivity and efficiency, so there's a clear benefit in those distinct pillars of sustainability - economic, social and environmental.

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