NC State Awarded $1.415 Million Grant from USDA for Organic Farming Research
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NC State Awarded $1.415 Million Grant from USDA for Organic Farming Research

October 3, 2014

NC State University received a $1.415 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for organic farming research.

The three year project, led by Dr. Keena Mullen, will evaluate the amount of time that three different plant-based treatments for mastitis will remain in the milk and meat of both healthy cows and cows with the infection.

"Mastitis, or udder inflammation, is often caused by bacterial infection and is commonly treated using antibiotics,"Professor and study investigator Steven Washburn wrote in an email. "However, organic dairy farmers in the United States are not permitted to use antibiotics, even though organic cows can have mastitis challenges similar to cows on conventional farms."

Farmers use plant-based treatments, but is it currently unknown as to how long these treatments remain in the animal.

The findings of the study will be shared with organic farmers, veterinarians, cooperative extension personnel and veterinary students.

"Our research will help organic dairy farmers use plant-based treatments in a way that prevents residual treatments from entering the food supply, thereby ensuring the safety and quality of organic milk," wrote Washburn adding that the results could be applicable to conventional dairy farms as a way to reduce antibiotic use.

Overall, the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $19 million to 19 projects in 16 states that were partially funded through the Organic Research and Extension Initiative.

Along with Mullen and Washburn, doctors Kevin Anderson and Ronald Baynes of the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Sharon Mason of Campbell University are also working on the study.

More information can be found here.