February 6, 2004 | By: Haven Miller

Recently announced federal funding for University of Kentucky research and outreach includes significant support for new crop opportunities, forage and livestock systems, health education, plant and animal genetics and an important partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell put these funds into the Omnibus Appropriations Conference Report, which passed the U.S. Senate and now goes to President Bush for his signature.  Without Senator McConnell’s efforts these funds would not have come to UK .

“The senator’s tremendous support is vital to helping the University of Kentucky move forward with our research endeavors,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.  “The real payoff will be the improvement in the lives of Kentuckians.”

“President Todd has done a masterful job of pursuing initiatives that strengthen UK ’s areas of excellence, and I am pleased to support his vision by delivering these funds,” McConnell said.

A total of $11.36 million will support a variety of projects involving several colleges at UK , but the largest portion – $5.86 million – will go to programs administered by the UK College of Agriculture.

“These are substantial programs that are having direct, measurable impacts on families and communities throughout the Commonwealth and we’re extremely pleased that Senator McConnell has enabled us to strengthen our efforts in these areas,” said Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture.

The funding includes $2.74 million to continue the development of a new research laboratory at the Lexington campus in cooperation with the USDA’s Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS). The new lab is being formed to improve the productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of forage-based enterprises. These programs include research to improve forage and livestock production in the state, as well as investigations of ways to improve animal health and prevent major diseases such as Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome.

Other funded programs include $805,000 for the statewide Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) program; $388,000 to examine health and productivity of grazing livestock; $663,000 to study new crop opportunities; $663,000 for precision agriculture and resource management research; $604,000 for plant gene sequencing and innovative products research conducted at the College of Agriculture ’s Advanced Genetic Technologies Center .

“Research conducted through the ARS unit and the Advanced Genetic Technologies Center is harnessing the power of new applications of science to improve our state’s grasslands and grazing animals, which can have a significant positive impact on our economy,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture. 

Through the HEEL program, a collaborative effort involving the UK College of Medicine and its Schoolof Public Health , the College of Agriculture, and Cooperative Extension Service, county Extensionagents are working with local communities to deliver research-based information and programs designed to reduce disease and generally improve health.  The latest example of HEEL’s statewide contribution is the recently-announced “Get Moving Kentucky!” initiative to increase Kentuckians’ physical activity.

In addition to the $5.86 million going to agriculture programs, other UK funding comprising the $11.36 million includes $1 million for biomedical imaging equipment; $1 million for the Center for Instructional Technology and Learning; $1 million for improving medication-related outcomes; $1 million for the Law School electronic access project; and $1.5 million for transportation research.


Source: Scott Smith, 859-257-4772