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Federal Initiatives: 2009 Accomplishments

Optimizing Production Systems, Market and Policy Analysis for Cotton and Other Natural Fibers
Texas Tech and Texas A&M have the expertise to expand the program in market and policy analysis of natural fibers that will greatly benefit U.S. industries and policy makers by providing relevant information about the changing landscapes of the market. Research proposed is aimed at developing new information and technologies to increase cotton and textile production efficiencies, reduce costs through the processing chain, increase market share and transparency, and improve the U.S. industry’s global competitiveness.

Center for Food Industry Excellence
The overarching goal of this research program is to more effectively reduce contamination of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella by combining research with targeted educational training and implementation of interventions in the US and for the Mexican meat industry to reduce food-borne pathogens. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive food safety culture. This effort will be achieved by determining knowledge gaps and training needs for small and very small processing plant personnel through survey-based research.

Sustainable AgroEcosystems in the Texas High Plains
This research program is aimed at creating a long-term agroecosystem site for basic and applied research, teaching and outreach with full partnerships among agriculture stakeholders. These efforts are aimed at quantifying the production capacity and water use of agricultural systems in the Texas High Plains and identifying different agricultural systems in terms of their long-term impacts on production and the environment, and understanding the linkages among soil microbial diversity, crop productivity, precipitation variability, and soil temperatures under a changing climate regime.

Next Generation Fire Resistant Fabric Technology
This research is aimed at developing a fire resistant material that can be produced in sufficient quantity and at a price point to allow every soldier who requires a fire retardant combat uniform to have one. This project is structured around a newly engineered and patented fiber called TecGen, which can be produced for about half the cost of Nomex and about a tenth the cost of PBI. TecGen is a biregional fiber, having a high-density carbonaceous shell, which provides protection from radiant heat, and an acrylic core that provides good textile properties.

Desert Fuels: Systems Approach to Biofuel Production and Energy Storage
This research is aimed at creating integrated systems to produce fuel from biomass growing in arid/semi-arid regions of the United States. The research focuses on generating transportation fuels and electricity to be consumed near the site of production. The uniqueness of this desert fuel production/consumption systems includes using several types of biomass, all of which have one or more advantages including native stands of plants that require little water for growth and can be harvested without harm to the ecosystem.

Ogallala Aquifer
The program is designed to protect the Ogallala Aquifer and retain the economic integrity of the Southern Great Plains region, including the Texas High Plains, along with portions of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado – all states that are dependent on the survival of the Ogallala Aquifer. These efforts are aimed at developing innovative conservation measures for the Ogallala Aquifer resource through a multi-state, university and federal program. The collective regional knowledge base focuses on an integrated program to develop and transfer water conservation technology.

Great Plains Sorghum Improvement and Utilization Center
The program focuses on developing a regional effect by pooling and integrating the research and extension resources for sorghum improvement, utilization, production and marketing located at Kansas State University, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University. This would include USDA-ARS scientists located on those campuses with assigned sorghum responsibilities. These efforts are aimed at integrating efforts among the three institutions to develop a series of multi-institutional and multidisciplinary teams which will bring together new technologies and knowledge.

Center for North American Studies
The program continues development of a center headquartered at Texas A&M University for the promotion of stronger relationships among Canada, Mexico and the United States in trade of food and fiber products. These efforts are aimed at integrating the efforts among four participating academic institutions and expanding activities in education and training, research, policy analysis and cooperative study. The center meets national needs to provide objective analyses for rapid, precise responses to emerging trade and international policy issues.

Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium
The research addresses major research and educational needs of a rapidly expanding dairy industry on the Southern Great Plains of New Mexico and Texas, extending into Oklahoma and Kansas. These efforts are aimed at providing a multidisciplinary federal, industry and state-supported program dedicated to improved dairy production efficiency through animal nutrition, health and management; product safety and biosecurity; rapid assay technologies; water, air quality and natural resource utilization; and enhanced forage production and manure/efficient utilization.