Nearly $225,000 in grants awarded to enhance Iowa's swine industry

Nearly $225,000 in grants awarded to enhance Iowa's swine industry

Final recipients announced by Iowa Attorney General through a decade-long Smithfield grants program.

A statewide program to educate pork producers about manure pit safety, and research projects to combat E. coli in piglets and to help diagnose sow lameness, will share nearly $225,000 in the final allocation of a 10-year, $1 million program to advance and enhance swine production in Iowa. The announcement was made in March 2016 by the Iowa Attorney General’s office for the year 2015, the final year of the program.

FINAL SWINE GRANTS: Sharing $225,000 in grant money, the program goal this year is to educate pork producers about manure pit safety, to combat E. coli in piglets and to help diagnose sow lameness. This is the final year of a 10-year, $1 million program to advance and enhance swine production in Iowa.

A bipartisan selection committee awarded the funds through the Smithfield grant program. The initiative began in 2005 to advance and enhance swine production in Iowa through projects that demonstrate financial need and promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner. The annual award program was launched through a landmark 2005 legal settlement. Smithfield made substantial financial commitments to Iowa’s pork industry and agreed to provide a contractor growers’ “bill of rights” to Smithfield contract producers.

Total of 15 submitted proposals were evaluated and awarded

Attorney General Tom Miller’s office, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods Inc., and two Democrat and two Republican state legislators, evaluated 15 submitted proposals and awarded nearly $225,000 for the final year.

“We are pleased to allocate the remaining Smithfield grant funds to a mix of projects that do exactly what we all intended when we created and first launched the grant program,” Miller says. “These final grant recipients will conduct research on problems that lead to losses for Iowa hog producers, and a program to promote safety around swine manure storage facilities.”

Final grant recipients for 2015 year, final year of the program

The committee awarded the 2015 funds to the following three recipients, who agreed to make the results of the sponsored research publicly available:

* John Patience, animal science professor, Iowa State University ($49,696). The study will look at effects of dietary fiber supplements with or without NSP degrading enzymes on the health and performance of weaned pigs challenged with E. coli. The disease causes economic losses for pig producers.

* Anna Johnson, animal science professor, ISU ($123,693): Project will try to validate the sow lameness diagnostic manual, to determine whether the lameness diagnostic guide can identify naturally occurring sow lameness. Sow lameness is a major production issue and the second most important reason for culling.

* Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) ($50,000): Project will enhance pork producer knowledge and awareness of on-farm safety hazards and standard operating procedures associated with manure storage areas. “Farmer and farm employee safety are of utmost importance for all in agriculture,” IPPA president Dave Struthers says. “We hope the additional resources and educational outreach made possible by these grant funds can continue to encourage strong safety measures and help prevent future farm injuries in Iowa.”

The committee comprised representatives of the Office of the Attorney General, Smithfield Foods, Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone), Sen. Steve Sodders (D-State Center), Rep. Chris Hagenow, (R-Windsor Heights) and Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton).

Background: On Sept. 16, 2005, Miller and Smithfield Foods, Inc., Murphy Farms, LLC, and Prestage-Stoecker Farms, Inc. announced an agreement announced an agreement through a federal consent decree. The decree included this provision:

“Smithfield agrees to pay $100,000 per year for 10 years to fund a program for 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...”

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