Grant funds totaling up to $250,000 are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa. State Attorney General Tom Miller made that announcement about Iowa the Iowa Innovative Swine Industry Enhancement Grant Program on March 1, explaining that the proposals for projects are due by April 19. Project proposals will then be evaluated to determine which applicants qualify to receive a share of the grant funding.
The grant money allocated for 2013 is for the seventh year of a program funded by Smithfield Foods, which is paying $1 million over a period of 10 years for the program. Miller released a "Request for Applications" or RFA to identify and support innovative Iowa projects eligible for the grants.
The Request for Applications and required grant application forms, instructions, and requirements may be accessed here (go to "Working for Farmers"). People who are interested in applying also may call the Attorney General's Farm Division at 515-281-8359, or send email to [email protected].
It is known as the "Innovative Swine Industry Enhancement Grant Program"
The Office of the Iowa Attorney General, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods, Inc., and two Democratic and two Republican state legislators, will evaluate proposals submitted under the RFA and award up to $250,000 for 2013 to projects that demonstrate financial need and will promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner.
"This program has made an impact on Iowa's swine production industry," says Miller. "We want to continue this momentum by helping fund more innovative ideas."
The grant program is part of a landmark settlement under which Smithfield made substantial financial commitments to Iowa's pork industry and agreed to provide a contractor growers' "bill of rights" to Smithfield contract producers. When the grant program was announced in 2006, Dennis Treacy, vice president for environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield, said, "Smithfield Foods is delighted to partner with Attorney General Miller to make funds available to Iowa hog producers. We pledge to work with Iowans to ensure that the projects we fund sustain the environment and further the hog production industry in the state."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Grant recipients agree to make the results of the sponsored research available to the public. The Iowa Attorney General's Office offers the following details and background about this program.
The Request For Applications information form encourages projects in the following areas to submit applications:
* Environment: Projects are encouraged that will address the environmental impact of swine production, including impact on air quality and water quality.
* Profitability: Projects are encouraged that will address the profitability of swine production, including projects that will lower the costs of swine production, address swine disease problems, increase efficiency in swine production, create new pork products or create new markets for pork.
* Contract feeding: Projects are encouraged that will address issues in contract feeding, including competition, fairness and efficiency.
* Independent producers: Projects are encouraged that will address the ability of independent hog producers to compete, including projects relating to market access, price transparency, niche marketing of pork, producer networking and financing.
* Market information: Projects are encouraged that will address the issue of price discovery and availability of market information in the hog industry.
Previous grant awards, including year and a description of the project:
* 2007: The Drake University Agricultural Law Center was awarded $21,886.50 to identify, research and analyze existing and future legal issues affecting the swine industry in Iowa, culminating in a series of papers and workshops for producers, their attorneys and other members of the swine industry in Iowa.
* 2007: Iowa State University was awarded $34,261 to develop an economic model that can be used by Iowa swine producers to evaluate the economic viability of utilizing dried distiller's grain and solubles and other ethanol industry byproducts as feed ingredients in a wide range of feed input price and supply conditions. ($31,610 was awarded for 2008 for second part of program.)
* 2007: Practical Farmers of Iowa, based in Ames, was awarded $19,453 to develop and deliver educational programming to farmers who presently produce niche pork, farmers who produce conventional pork, and farmers who recently exited pork production, with a focus on niche pork production systems that have not been well researched in the past. ($22,909.70 for a companion project was awarded for 2008.)~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
* 2007: The Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County was awarded $24,399.50 to conduct a feasibility study to ascertain the viability of a commercial biomass facility that utilizes hog waste and other waste streams to produce methane and high-quality fertilizer for Crawford County farmers.
* 2008: Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development of Oakland, Iowa, was awarded $16,348.20 to demonstrate growth response to a new natural swine nutrition supplement made from an ethanol syrup co-product.
* 2008: The Boone Community School District FFA was awarded $25,824.96 to construct a mobile swine laboratory that will allow the public to view and learn about commercial and sustainable swine farrowing operations.
* 2009: ISU Animal Welfare Division was awarded $28,700 to establish an Iowa Swine Welfare School to provide a hands-on education and training program for producers and others involved in the swine industry focused on low-stress handling and care of swine.
* 2009: ISU College of Veterinary Medicine PRRS Virus Project was awarded $43,046 to determine if ultraviolet light, an inexpensive off-the-shelf technology, can be a practical and cost-effective method to protect pigs from airborne PRRS virus.
* 2009: Iowa Pork Producers Assn. was awarded $25,000 (to perform energy audits at several Iowa swine production facilities to analyze energy use and develop specific recommendations for reducing energy costs.
* 2010: ISU Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering was awarded $50,000 to perform swine feeding trials with fungi grown thin stillage.
* 2010: Juergens Environmental Control, LLC was awarded $50,000 for evaluation of deep-pit swine finishing house ammonia concentration emission as a function of manure surface treatment using a proprietary application product.
* 2011: Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine was awarded $50,538 to collaborate with pork producers to determine the probability of detecting a PRRSV-infected pig in a pen of PSSRSV-negative pigs using an oral fluid means of gathering sample material as opposed to a more costly method of collecting blood samples from individual pigs.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
* 2011: Iowa State University – Dr. Kenneth Stalder was awarded $49,462 for a project to develop a set of criteria in order to evaluate feet and leg soundness of sows, which is a key component in improving sow longevity, overall lifetime performance, and production efficiency.
* 2012: Iowa State University – Dr. J. (Hans) van Leeuwen was awarded $87,819 to evaluate fungal biomass as a feed source to assist low performing nursery pigs achieve viable production outcomes.
Origin of the grant program: On September 16, 2005, the Iowa Attorney General and Smithfield Foods, Inc., along with Murphy Farms, LLC, and Prestage-Stoecker Farms, Inc. agreed to entry of a Consent Decree by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
The Consent Decree included the following provision: Smithfield agrees to pay $100,000 per year for 10 years to fund a program for the awarding of annual grants to Iowa citizens or entities that demonstrate both a need for funding and an innovative program to advance swine production in the State. The grants will be awarded to applicants selected by the office of the Attorney General in collaboration with Smithfield and at least two Republican legislators and two Democratic legislators or their designees. . . ."
In addition to the $1,000,000 grant program, as part of this landmark settlement in 2005, Smithfield also agreed to pay $1,000,000 to Iowa State University for a 10-year environmental training program and $240,000 over a four-year period to fund Smithfield-Luter Scholarships at ISU.