Penn Vet | Science & Research Detail
New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Launches New Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security

By: Martin J. Hackett | | 215-898-1475 Date: Oct 13, 2022
Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security header
CSAFS leaders (l to r): Zhengxia Dou, PhD; Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD; Meghann Pierdon, VMD; Dipti Pitta, PhD; and Tom Parsons, VMD, PhD.

[October 13, 2022; PHILADELPHIA] The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) has launched a new research hub, the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security (CSAFS), at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Center enables Penn Vet to capitalize on its niche strength in animal agriculture, deepened through innovative partnerships with other University of Pennsylvania (Penn) centers, to drive sustainable agricultural and veterinary healthcare practices and methods, while addressing the world’s growing nutritional demands.

The CSAFS mobilizes Penn Vet’s faculty who research and practice in nearly 20 agriculture-related specialties, along with Penn-wide affiliate faculty, dedicated to: broadening the understanding of animal agriculture and food systems; uniting agriculture, ecosystems, and public health; examining soil health; and exploring climate change mitigation and resilience.

The Center is led by Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD, Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and director of Penn Vet’s Swine Teaching and Research Center, who has advanced the understanding of sustainable models of agriculture through his study of animal behavior, health, welfare, and applications of cutting-edge technology. He is recognized globally by scholars and industry leaders for re-envisioning animal husbandry, housing, and feeding systems anchored around improving swine welfare.

“There is a tension between the two pressures that agriculture faces,” said Parsons. “One is to be more environmentally friendly. Two is to go and feed the world. Our Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security will focus on both facets at the same time. The Center will foster the responsible use of natural resources – air, water, land, and animals – entrusted to farmers to make food to feed the world’s burgeoning population.”

The Center’s core leadership team, led by Parsons as inaugural director, includes Zhengxia Dou, PhD; Meghann Pierdon, VMD; Dipti Pitta, PhD; and Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD. The team will provide an ongoing source of integrative leadership and scientific collaboration for the Center’s research and outreach agendas, and educational priorities.

“The goal of the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security is to promote research, education, and outreach on the future of agriculture, finding applicable solutions that enhance animal health and production all the while maximizing environmental services from agriculture,” said Andrew Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “We are uniting our distinguished corps of veterinary scientists; integrating Penn faculty with disciplines outside of veterinary medicine; and recruiting new faculty. Scaling this multidisciplinary Center is exciting. It is accelerating our ability to meet this generational, consequential moment in agriculture.”

To learn more about the new Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security, visit our website.

About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.