The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced this week the creation of the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture.

The goal of the task force is to help advise the federal government on a research agenda and to aid in disseminating information on the use of antibiotics in production agriculture. “We recognize antibiotic resistance as a public health challenge and look forward to collaborating with APLU and the federal government on this critical initiative,” said AAVMC Executive Director Andrew Maccabe, noting that many of the AAVMC’s member institutions are based at land-grant universities.

The task force is comprised of representatives from U.S. agriculture colleges/land grant universities and veterinary colleges as well as representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and production animal agriculture community, including NCC’s Dr. Ashley Peterson, vice president of science and technology, as well as officials from the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  Officials from federal agencies are expected to act as observers to the task force and leaders from public universities in Mexico and Canada will serve as ex officio members.

 “This is an important collaborative effort,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The task force and its members are well positioned to advise the Obama administration as they consider strategies to address the judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture.”

In September, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report, “Combating Antibiotic Resistance,” which laid out several recommendations to address the problem. President Obama has also issued an executive order that describes the antibiotic resistant bacteria problem as a national security priority and directs various executive branch departments and agencies to develop a specific plan of action by mid-February to address antibiotic resistance and protect public health.