by: Umang A.
I attended the Joint annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and American Society for Animal Science (ASAS) in New Orleans. The theme of the conference was related to food science, dairy production, nutrition, animal health, food safety and management. The meeting kicked off on Sunday with a spectacular performance by the famous 'Preservation Hall Jazz Band'. More than 2500 scientists and researchers from 51 countries attended the conference.
From genes to pathways, dairy technology to animal health and
environmental impact of livestock to government policies, the
research presented during JAM'11 came from a very broad base.
Being from a ruminant nutrition background with interest in
intermediary metabolism, I mainly attended sessions dealing with
stable isotope studies, nutritional programming, direct-fed
microbials and microbiomes. Clearly the gut-microbiomes research
seemed to be the next 'in' thing.
Science meetings aren't just about talks and posters, it is fun too. There are parties thrown by companies, which complement the meetings and provide a good opportunity for like minded scientists to come together. On one such invitation, we went on the paddlewheeler cruise on the Mississippi river one evening. It was a lot of fun, with old friends meeting up and a sumptuous Cajun buffet, but what I found amazing was the science discussions which were clearly dominant in every group aboard. Cruising through the Mississippi, great scientists talked not just great contemporary science but also prophesized about future directions.
There are going to be many challenges for the animal science industry in the coming future. Sustainable agriculture would require minimizing farm carbon emissions from cows, and a great deal of research is already underway to solve this problem. However at the same time, we need to ensure food security for the growing world. We need to make our animals more productive without compromising even a little on animal health. This requires even more deep understanding of regulatory mechanisms of partitioning of feed into food, maintenance or waste. Developing online decision support tools to make the new research applicable is also crucial to dissemination of latest scientific knowledge.
The conference ended with a Global Networking Reception. Catherine Woteki, under secretary of the USDA's Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, delivered the official address.
Some quotes from the conference (from ASAS archives - Taking Stock):
“If you are ever reviewing a paper that says mammary development begins at puberty, reject it–please.” – Dr. Steve Ellis, Clemson University, speaking at the BOLFA symposium.
“You've got to get non-farm people exposed to this stuff.” – Temple Grandin, speaking about educating college students