UK Making Gains in Food Systems

Contact: Carl Nathe

 

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“Meat science is a lead program in the College of Agriculture and UK is committed to serving the unique needs of our state, which range from home-based microprocessors to multinational corporations. These efforts include research, outreach, and workforce development.”

-- Nancy Cox,
associate dean for research,
UK College of Agriculture

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2004) -- The 57th annual Reciprocal Meat Conference of the American Meat Science Association held its three-day annual meeting in late June at the University of Kentucky. UK utilized the forum to highlight the success of the UK College of Agriculture Department of Animal Science’s food systems program, which includes meat science.

“Being able to land the RMC (Reciprocal Meat Conference) itself is a major coup,” said UK animal sciences extension professor William B. “Benjy” Mikel, coordinator of this year’s gathering of nearly 500 meat scientists, including academicians, industry and government practitioners, and students, both undergraduate and graduate.

“Meat science is a lead program in the College of Agriculture and UK is committed to serving the unique needs of our state, which range from home-based microprocessors to multinational corporations,” said Nancy Cox, the college’s associate dean for research. Cox added, “These efforts include research, outreach, and workforce development.”

Cox noted that Kentucky’s agriculture is in the midst of a transition from a tobacco economy and that one of the major goals of the college and many state agencies is to assist farmers in making that transition. In the most recent agricultural census, (KY Agricultural Statistics Service, 2002), equine was ranked number one in farm gate value (gross receipts), with poultry second, and tobacco third. The next three categories were cattle and calves, hay, and corn.

Kentucky continues to have the largest beef cattle inventory east of the Mississippi River, and is a center for order-buying, with approximately 25 percent of the cattle going to feedlots from the southeast passing through the state. Poultry has grown at a rapid rate, with the number of farms producing broilers more than doubling during the five-year period from 1997 through 2002, and the number of broilers sold over the same period increasing nearly 2.5 times.

“With the help of investments of the Agriculture Development Board and many other public and private efforts, successes have been achieved in diversifying the Kentucky farm economy,” said Cox. She cited a few more examples of this success when comparing the 2002 figures to 1997. “Meat goats increased by 74 percent, with Kentucky ranking third in the nation, and the number of harvested vegetables increased by 53 percent.”

UK is one of only 51 colleges and universities in the United States whose food systems (science) program is approved and accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists, a professional organization of 30,000 members.


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