In the three short years since the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) was founded, it has provided grants for six research and education projects and raised an endowment of nearly $1.2 million. Its growth from a seed of an idea to a self-sustaining nonprofit is owed to its dedicated and hard-working leadership since 2009, including former chairman of the board Al Gunderson and American Feed Industry Association vice president of feed regulation and nutrition, Richard Sellers.
However, there is still plenty of ground to cover on the path toward “sustaining the future of food and feed production through education and research” — the foundation’s mission statement. Recently, IFEEDER’s board of trustees appointed two new members and elected two new chairs to push the foundation further toward its mission. Dean Warras of Prince Agri Products, Inc., succeeded Gunderson as chairman of the board, while Eddie Wells of Milk Specialties Global was named vice chairman. Additionally, Wes Jamison, Ph.D., associate professor of communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) and Bruce Crutcher of Trouw Nutrition USA, were appointed as board members.
While some have been part of IFEEDER since inception, other newcomers bring unique perspectives that will help shape the foundation’s future research and education initiatives.
Dean Warras, chairman of the board
Feed & Grain: Why did you become involved with IFEEDER?
Warras: Having been vice chairman since IFEEDER’s founding, to me it’s all about giving back.
I think everybody in the [feed and grain] industry — even if in a very small way — should feel some responsibility to help create a more sustainable future for those who will be feeding the world’s population in the years to come. The effort I put into IFEEDER is my personal way of leaving behind something positive for future generations.
F&G: What past projects are you most proud of?
Warras: I’m proud of all six formal projects that IFEEDER has funded to date, but especially education projects, namely the Adopt-a-Teacher kits, teaching kids facts about modern agriculture, and the coloring books, again aimed at teaching kids important themes about production agriculture.
F&G: What are your goals for IFEEDER during your term as chairman of the board?
Warras: Terms are officially one year with no limit to the number of terms. As long as I’m passionate about the work and I feel that I’m adding value, I will remain in this role. First, I want to see the current projects through to completion with successful results, several of which have already been completed and/or rolled out.
I also want to significantly increase our endowment. Today we’re almost at $1.2 million in pledges, but we’ve only scratched the surface of our potential. I want to secure our base, and there are still many in the U.S. feed industry whom we still need support from. I hope through outreach and effective communication, we can reach those people.
F&G: What can people do to help continue IFEEDER’s work?
Warras: IFEEDER is at a positive turning point in its development, but it needs the support of everyone who is connected to this industry.
Learn about IFEEDER by visiting our website, www.ifeeder.org, take a stand for our mission and make a contribution. Your contributions will go to very worthwhile causes and you’ll be part of making this industry sustainable for generations to come. It is clear the problems we face are going to be different in 2020, 2030 or 2040 than they are today, and with as much support as possible, we’ll be ready to address them when they do come up.
Eddie Wells, vice chairman of the board
F&G: What is your background?
Wells: I graduated from Kansas State University in 1983, and January 2013 marks my 29th year in animal nutrition in various management roles, with the last 15 in executive management positions.
F&G: Why did you become involved with IFEEDER?