IFEEDER’s first grant was for $75,000, to the National Research Council which has authorized a new Swine Nutrition Committee. The committee is updating the 1998 Nutrient Requirements of Swine. Updating this work is essential to moving the feed industry toward a more efficient swine industry. In addition, this grant to NRC helped leverage an additional $225,000 in grants from other organizations, which will be paid out over a two-year period.
“We’re glad to have accomplished what we have in the past year, but there is more focus areas that we want to look at,” says Gunderson. “IFEEDER is a foundation that looks for opportunities to support and fund initiatives in education and research in a number of critical areas.”
Addressing some of those other critical areas, the IFEEDER board of trustees tentatively approved the funding of new research initiatives at its annual meeting at the 2011 International Feed Expo in Atlanta.
IFEEDER will likely continue to fund the NRC studies, including a new Nutrient Requirements of Beef publication.
“The NRC for beef is very similar to what we did for swine,” says Gunderson. “The NRC pulls together the existing research necessary to publish the nutrient requirements for beef nutritionists to use as a benchmark for putting together their feeding programs.”
Another tentatively approved project will provide more information on the acceptable levels of Salmonella in feed.
“We’re all aware that new regulations are in place,” says Gunderson. “But there is still a real need for defining different Salmonella serotypes, as well as an explanation of which are problematic and at what level it may become a problem. This is critically important to the feed industry, but without a coalition to leverage the governmental funds to get those answers, it won’t happen.”
So, IFEEDER has given its tentative approval to funding a new coalition AFIA created called the Salmonella in Feed Research Coalition. The goal of this group is to provide the USDA the funding to perform some feed-related Salmonella research with about 10 other groups, thereby raising $100,000 for research.
In addition to those projects, Sellers notes, “AFIA is preparing a roadmap for sustainability of the feed industry in the broad sense, meaning what can be done to sustain the feed industry long term. We expect AFIA will come to IFEEDER for funding this roadmap.”
In the future, the board of trustees hope to fund research in several other areas that will help guide food and feed regulations for the next generation.
“Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth A. Hagen says the legislation and regulations in food safety will be governed by common sense and sound science,” recalls Gunderson. “I couldn’t agree more because if we’re going to feed the world going into the rest of this century and the next, we have to research what truly is the most efficient and sustainable way for us to produce the food that we need.”
For example, IFEEDER is interested in funding economic studies to estimate the ban on low-level antibiotics on both income to the industry, as well as the larger issue of loss of production and income to the animal producer community.
Another example of potential research IFEEDER may fund is defining the carbon footprint of commercial animal feed production to determine the sustainability index. Consumers and customers wish to know this information, and IFEEDER would fund education and outreach about the results.
As a charitable organization, IFEEDER relies on donations from the industry to continue its mission. To date, IFEEDER has received donations or pledges from 24 companies and 17 individuals totaling more than $555,000. The board of trustees has set a goal to raise $2 million by the end of 2013.
To donate or learn more about IFEEDER, visit www.ifeeder.org.