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Our Project

Overall objective

This partnership seeks improvement of productivity, profitability and rural incomes in the Gulf region through a systems-oriented program of training and decision support to the ruminant livestock industry. A primary goal is to increase the ability of decision-makers to respond to changes in technologies, markets, or trade policies.

Problem statement

Mexico's current and future agricultural professionals need skills to analyze and support sustainable and profitable management of resources on the agricultural and environmental nexus. Requirements for sustainable animal agriculture include educational programs based on applied research that better inform management decisions by livestock farmers. Livestock production can be viewed as a dynamic system comprising soil-plant-animal nutrient interactions. Livestock systems are sensitive to annual cycles in animal nutrient requirements, feed supplies, and longer cycles in economic conditions. Therefore, management practices and decision frameworks are needed to accurately predict, monitor and manage cyclic changes, and to help producers to achieve productivity, sustainability and profitability goals. Bio-economic analysis is required to evaluate alternative practices to increase productivity, to anticipate market-level effects and to mitigate environmental risks.

Abridged abstract

The International Programs Office of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University in partnership with the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, the Universidad Veracruzana, and the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP)-Veracruz propose a demand-driven, integrated and interdisciplinary, systems-oriented program of training and decision support of animal industry in the Gulf region of Mexico during 2004-07 (view Enlaces, a video description in Spanish ENLACES DVD to be linked here -- must be converted and hosted). This program, which includes Master of Science degrees for qualified Mexicans, will facilitate efforts to boost productivity, profitability, and rural incomes in the region. This partnership addresses the challenges and opportunities arising from the global livestock revolution, namely to identify and support agricultural and environmental practices that enhance Mexico's competitiveness in the production of animal-source foods. Our program is tailored so that Mexican institutions, through innovative applications of sustainable and profitable technologies to the ruminant livestock component of agricultural systems, will acquire the additional necessary human capacity to lead animal agricultural development in the Gulf region. This legacy and improved productive efficiencies are expected to enhance competitiveness of ruminant animal-based commodities in a trade-led rural economy and promote investments in animal industry. (See details in the proposal narrative.)

Each institution within this partnership has a strong commitment to international education activities. Our emphasis is on the creation of a sustainable partnership that can facilitate improvements in the livestock production and marketing system, and to enhance certain outcomes (soil-plant-animal, productivity, profitability) and increase the adaptability of actors in the system to respond to changes in technology, markets, or trade policy. (Listen to a radio interview about our TIES project, one hour in Spanish.)

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