Earlier this week the U.S. department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $6 million in available funding for research addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Per a press release, funds are available through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted, “Through our Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, USDA is leading the way to better understand how antibiotic resistance develops, find alternatives to antibiotics, and educate people on practices that reduce the need for antibiotics. The research projects funded through this announcement will help us succeed in our efforts to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and protect public health.”

According to the press release, grant applications are due August 3 and must address one or more of the following objectives:

  • Develop novel ways to investigate the ecology of microbial resistance microbes and gene reservoirs in the environment, in animals, in crops, in food products or in farm-raised aquaculture products.
  • Develop, evaluate, and implement effective and sustainable resources and strategies, to include alternative practices, techniques, technologies or tools that mitigate emergence, spread or persistence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens within the agricultural ecosystem, in animals, in crops and in food.
  • Identify critical control points for mitigating antimicrobial resistance in the pre- and post-harvest food production environment.
  • Design innovative training, education and outreach resources (including web-based resources) that can be adapted by users across the food chain, including policy makers, producers, processors, retailers and consumers.
  • Design and conduct studies that evaluate the impact and efficacy of proposed research, education and extension/outreach interventions on antimicrobial resistance across the food chain, from primary producers to primary consumers.

On a related note, as part of the Agricultural & Food Law Consortium’s monthly webinar series, Dr. Michael Murphy, Veterinary Medical Officer, CVM/FDA, will present “Medically Important Antimicrobials in Animal Agriculture” on Wednesday, May 18 at 12 noon (EST). This webinar will include an overview of the 2015 Veterinary Feed Directive rule and FDA’s current thinking on the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.

More information on the webinar is available here.