Grant funds totaling $100,000 are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa, Attorney General Tom Miller announced last week. Proposals are due by Feb. 28, 2011.
The $100,000 in grants is available for the fifth year of a program funded by Smithfield Foods, which is paying $1 million over 10 years for the program. Miller released a "Request for Applications" on Jan. 25. His office is gathering the proposals so that the proposed projects can be evaluated to identify and support innovative Iowa projects that are eligible for the grants.
Grant application forms, instructions and requirements are available with the Request for Application at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov. Those who are interested also may call the Attorney General's Farm Division at 515-281-5351, or send an e-mail to [email protected].
Projects must be innovative and promote hog production in Iowa
The Office of Iowa Attorney General, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods, Inc., and two Democratic and two Republican legislators, will evaluate the proposals submitted under the RFA and award $100,000 for 2011 to projects that demonstrate financial need and will promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner.
"This is an excellent opportunity for Iowans to help fund their innovative programs to advance swine production throughout our state," says Miller.
The grant program is part of a landmark legal settlement under which Smithfield made substantial financial commitments to Iowa's pork industry and agreed to provide a "Bill of Rights" to swine producers who contract with Smithfield to produce hogs for the company. When the grants program was announced in 2006, Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield, said, "Smithfield Foods is delighted to partner with Iowa 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."
Grant recipients agree to make the results of the sponsored research available to the public. Following are more details and background about this grant program.
Projects in these areas are encouraged 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.
Grants awarded previously include these projects and years:
In 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. Also in 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 using dried distillers grain and solubles and other ethanol industry byproducts as feed ingredients in a wide range of feed input price and supply conditions. Also awarded was $31,610 for 2008 for second part of this ISU program.
Practical Farmers of Iowa, Inc. headquartered 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. Also awarded was $22,909 for a companion project for 2008.
The Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County was awarded $24,399 to do a feasibility study to ascertain the viability of a commercial biomass facility that uses hog waste and other waste streams to produce methane and high-quality fertilizer for Crawford County farmers.
In 2008 Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development agency of Oakland, Iowa was awarded $16,348 to demonstrate growth response to a new natural swine nutrition supplement made from an ethanol syrup co-product. Also in 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.
In 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 hog producers and others involved in the swine industry focused on low-stress handling and care of swine. Also in 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.
Iowa Pork Producers Association 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.
In 2010 the ISU Department of Ag and Biosystems Engineering was awarded $50,000 for swine feeding trials with fungi grown in thin stillage. Also in 2010:
Juergens Environmental Control, LLC was awarded $50,000 to evaluate deep-pit swine finishing house ammonia concentration emission as a function of manure surface treatment using a proprietary application product.
What is the origin of this unique grant program?
On September 16, 2005, the Iowa Attorney General's Office and Smithfield Foods, Inc., Murphy Farms, LLC, and Prestage-Stoecker Farms, Inc. agreed to the entry of a Consent Decree by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. [Go to 9-16-05 news release about the agreement.]
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, Smithfield agreed in the 2005 settlement 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.