“Shape the Future. Feed the World.” It’s the motto and guiding principle behind the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER). IFEEDER has many goals, but its main purpose is to sustain the future of feed and food production through education and research.
IFEEDER sees a critical need to support the education and research projects necessary to provide answers to the question of how to provide safe, affordable food and feed to sustain a growing world population. The IFEEDER board of trustees only approves projects that are directly relevant to finding answers to these questions.
“You talk about sustainability, the role of animal agriculture, food supply and the safety of the food supply — these are the focus areas of IFEEDER,” Alan Gunderson, chair of the IFEEDER board of trustees and vice president, Vita Plus Corporation, explains.
Since IFEEDER was launched in January 2010, it has awarded several students scholarships and has given a $75,000 grant to the National Research Council, which has authorized a new Swine Nutrition Committee that is updating the 1998 Nutrient Requirements of Swine.
The board of trustees recently held its annual meeting and tentatively approved two new research initiatives. One deals with the nutrient requirements of beef and the other pertains to Salmonella in feed.
Through support from companies and individuals within the feed industry, IFEEDER is poised to accomplish great things in the years ahead.
Feeding the world
In 2009, the world’s population was 6.7 billion people. According to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), by 2050, the world’s population is estimated to be 9.1 billion. This increase in population will result in an enormous increase in the world demand for food. Food production must double by 2050.
“Today the average U.S. farmer feeds 144 people,” says Richard Sellers, corporate secretary of IFEEDER and vice president of feed regulation and nutrition at AFIA. “In 1940, that number was only 19 people. We’ve made great progress but we have a long way to go. Today, one acre feeds 1.6 people. By 2050, one acre must feed four people. To feed the world in 2050, investment in agriculture must reach $83 billion per year. This equals a 50 percent increase in investment from current levels. The U.S. feed industry is a very critical part of this chain.”
Only through today’s education and scientific-based research will future generations be able to support the increased world food demand.
AFIA’s leaders’ and members’ commitment to finding ways to feed the world’s future population led way to the formation of IFEEDER.
The birth of an institute
“If you go back to the inception of IFEEDER, it came about because AFIA leaders looked at their activities and knew they wanted to focus on the legislative and regulatory angle,” Gunderson says. “But they didn’t want to leave research and education behind, so they decided to address those topics through a charitable foundation.”
Gunderson says after a year-long series of meetings and discussions, an AFIA task force created IFEEDER, an idea that was a long overdue in the feed industry. The institute was founded in 2009, but it received its 501(c)3 designation from the IRS in early 2010, which is when it was officially introduced to the public at the International Feed Expo in Atlanta.
From its beginning, IFEEDER set out to address these specific challenges:
- a lack of public sector funding for key basic science and economic impact studies;
- the shortage of technical and professional employees that see the feed industry as a viable career option;
- resource limitations/restrictions (i.e. energy, water);
- consumer perceptions of food animal production;
- regulatory and legislative policies from federal, state and local governments; and
- a lack of support and funding for sustainable feed manufacturing practices.