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New meat biology lab to bolster Wisconsin business – Audio

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Dan Schaefer, Professor
Department of Animal Science
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone: (608) 263-4513

3:05 – Total Time

0:15 – Economic value of processed meats
0:28 – How research supports meat business
0:45 – New meat research lab
1:11 – Importance of new facility to business
1:38 – Examples of research
2:05 – Human health applications
2:40 – Vitamin D in pigs
2:55 – Lead out


The future of the meat processing business in Wisconsin. We’re visiting today with Dan Schaefer, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

Sevie Kenyon: Start out by telling us a little bit about the meat processing business here in the state.

Dan Schaefer: The meat processing business is significant in this state. It accounts for about $12 billion of economic impact and 88,000 jobs.

Sevie Kenyon: What does a Department of Animal Sciences have to do with that business?

Dan Schaefer: The Department of Animal Sciences is home to the meat science program. Our purpose is to create new information, to teach students and to extend that information to the residents of the state and, in fact, the meat industry beyond the state.

Sevie Kenyon: And Dan, what kind of new things do you have happening here?

Dan Schaefer: We’re seeking to build a new meat science center to replace a building which we currently have. This is a building that has a cost estimate of about $40 million. We are seeking half of that from partners within the meat industry and the other half would be state supported. We expect to build this building in 2015 to 2017. And that is the big news.

Sevie Kenyon: And what will this building for the business?

Dan Schaefer: This building will be a place where new products are created. The new products could involve processing techniques and formulations for new meat products. The program will also seek to add value to those portions of livestock that are not meat. We hope to create products that are going to be beneficial, in terms of human health.

Sevie Kenyon: And Dan, do you have some examples?

Dan Schaefer: Some of those products would be anti-coagulants for use in human medicine. Another product is one which facilitates skin healing for burn victims and many others of that sort that cannot be synthesized using biotechnology but are available if we extract them from animal tissues.

Sevie Kenyon: Well Dan, I’d like you to look into your crystal ball a little bit and talk about that future.

Dan Schaefer: I am excited because we have faculty members who are thinking creatively about the molecules that they can find and extract from animal tissues. They envision new markets and new applications for these products. This is all very exciting because there is no other place in the world that is seeking to put this kind of a focus to a research effort to find new kinds of molecules that could be useful in human medicine.

Sevie Kenyon: Dan, what kind of research do you have happening that’s a benefit and an interest to the agricultural community?

Dan Schaefer: We fed pigs a diet that was devoid of Vitamin D. This now becomes a model whereby Vitamin D metabolism in the pig can be studied and the requirements of the pig can be recognized with greater precision.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Dan Schaefer, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.