Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

The Last Bite – A Note from the Bureau for Food Security Livestock Team

We hope you have enjoyed Agrilink’s livestock month. A rich array of topics has been presented through insightful articles and videos. We hope to have connected you with additional knowledge platforms and networks and inspired you in your work.

Over the course of the month, blog posts from four continents have been shared, representing perspectives from livestock keepers and leading livestock experts, drawn from the private sector, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), implementing partners, universities, three different U.S. government departments and from specialists outside the sector. We believe a multi-disciplinary approach is critical if we are to tackle the complex issues the livestock sector must confront. Look out for one last cross-over blog on livestock and technology as Agrilinks boots up Digital Agriculture Month in December.

To all our contributors, many thanks for generously sharing your perspectives and experiences and for playing your role in advancing learning and knowledge exchange.

Although the focus of this month has been livestock, integration with crop production and the natural environment is the pathway to sustainable solutions. The articles over the month demonstrate the tremendous heterogeneity of production systems, the marked differences between and within developing and developed countries, the multifunctional nature of the roles livestock play and the need for data and evidence to support policy makers and other stakeholders including consumers in food systems around the world as they deal with complex trade-offs and significant uncertainties.

Several blog posts have made a strong case for a nuanced, evidence-based and balanced approach to addressing the role livestock play in achieving development outcomes. We must work to amplify the positive contribution livestock make but also acknowledge challenges livestock bring with them and seek to mitigate those negative externalities. Solutions must be locally appropriate and acceptable.

For our readers, we hope you have enjoyed the material. If you did, help us to magnify our reach and share a post or other resource with a colleague or counterpart. Is there something you want to know more about? Help us to take the pulse of this Agrilinks audience and share with us the topics which challenge and energize you!

As Thanksgiving fast approaches here in the U.S., we wanted to close out with an article about turkeys. However, having scoured our files for suitable material, the offerings were rather paltry (get it?!). Instead, we would like to share a wonderful article with an embedded short video about another American animal, the bison. There are several lessons we can learn from the fate of this great animal and the indigenous people who sustainably harvested its once vast herds. We might draw encouragement from the positive impact re-introducing these ungulates can have on a landscape’s ecology, biodiversity and productivity. The example in the article of nature-based solutions provides lessons that are relevant to the challenges we face today as we strive to achieve sustainable livestock production.

Happy holidays, we are thankful for the wonderful global livestock community we are part of.

Andrew Bisson, Livestock Adviser (abisson@usaid.gov) and the livestock team at the Bureau for Food Security.