ILIFT Focus Areas
Livestock Facility Siting
Pasture-Based Forage Systems
Livestock Decision Tools
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Animal Identification for Enhanced Food Quality and Monitoring Livestock Health
Individual identification of animals throughout the production cycle is becoming a critically important management tool. Consumers demand identification because of food safety concerns and animal welfare. Processors demand individual identification to track animals from multiple suppliers and control quality. Finally, producers demand this identification because of marketing and animal performance monitoring. Despite these needs from the field to fork, technologies for animal identification and monitoring at present remain primitive, especially in consistency across the production-consumer continuum.
For this project, UIUC offers a number of advantages over other institutions, including globally recognized strength in animal/veterinary sciences and electrical /computer engineering. Illinois is itself a major agricultural and food processing state. Although we propose to use a model species (i.e. mice), results produced in mice should be rapidly transferable to other production species, for example swine and dairy cattle. These are of particular impact to Illinois as swine represent the largest animal commodity in Illinois and provide a meat/carcass model for product distribution through the foodchain. Dairy cattle offer a product with distribution that is wider than meat species.