The Farm Animal Integrated Research (FAIR) 2012 Forum was held March 4-6, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia, to establish research, education and outreach priorities for animal agriculture. More than 160 animal scientists, veterinarians and university, government and industry representatives met to discuss issues of food security, animal and human health, and responsible environmental stewardship. This was the third national forum, which are held nearly every five years to coincide with the U.S. Farm Bill deliberations. The priorities developed at the forum are designed to provide input to the $3.2 billion federal agricultural research, education and economic programs.
The underlying theme of FAIR 2012 was the challenge of meeting future food requirements of a global population expected to reach 9 million by mid-century while preserving the ecosystems we all rely on. Experts presented economic, ecological and societal analyses, followed by discussion to identify key research, education and outreach priorities that will be essential in achieving these goals.
Keynote speakers included Undersecretary of Agriculture Dr. Catherine Woteki, who commended the forum coordinators for developing national priorities for agriculture research. Dr. John Goldberg, majority staff scientist on the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Agriculture, encouraged stakeholders to develop categories of priorities that are neither too global nor too specific. He explained that the Committee would likely provide authorization for funds for broad categories instead of the traditional USDA agency lump sum authorizations.
The recommendations of the FAIR 2012 forum are planned for release within 60 days of the conference, according to co-program chairs Mary Beck (Mississippi State University) and Jerry Weigel (Nutrition Consulting) Wake Forest, N.C.. The end product will serve as the basis for communications to policy makers, the White House, the USDA and other federal funding agencies, universities, industry and other stakeholders.
For more information on the FAIR 2012 program, please visit http://fair2012.fass.org.