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August 5, 2015

Grants Available to Enhance Swine Industry

Request for Applications Revised

 (DES MOINES, Iowa) Grant funds totaling approximately $225,000 are now available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa, through the final year of a ten-year $1 million program funded by Smithfield Foods.

The Attorney General’s Farm Division today released a revised “Request for Applications” (RFA) to identify and support innovative Iowa projects eligible for the grants.  The original RFA issued on April 7, 2015, is being modified to allow additional time for proposals to be submitted and to seek clarifications about previously submitted applications.   Deadline for responding to the revised RFA is September 8, 2015.

Miller’s office, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods Inc., and two Democratic and two Republican state legislators, will evaluate proposals submitted under the 2015 revised RFA and award approximately $225,000 for projects that demonstrate financial need and will promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner.

Grant recipients agree to make the results of the sponsored research available to the public.

The forms may be accessed at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov (go to “For Farmers”). For more information, email marc.wallin@iowa.gov or call 515-281-8359. The forms include:

Background
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.

On September 16, 2005, Miller and Smithfield Foods, Inc., Murphy Farms, LLC, and Prestage-Stoecker Farms, Inc. announced an agreement through a federal consent decree.

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...”

When the grant program was announced in 2006, Dennis H. Treacy, vice president, 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.”

The RFA 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

  • 2013
    • Iowa State University – Dr. Nicholas Gabler and Dr. Kent Swartz were awarded $85,960 to do a critical assessment of PRRSV and co-infection on grow-finisher pig mucosal immunity and tissue metabolism.
    • Iowa State University – Dr. Eric Burrough was awarded $92,797 to study the impact of increased dietary insoluble fiber through the feeding of dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) on the incidence and severity of Brachyspira-associated colitis in pigs.
    • Iowa State University – Dr. Jeffrey Zimmerman was awarded $71,027 to develop statistically valid PRRSV surveillance sampling guidelines (sample size x frequency) based on the use of pen-based oral fluids.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 2010
    • ISU Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering were awarded $50,000 to perform swine feeding trials with fungi grown thin stillage.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 bi-products as feed ingredients in a wide range of feed input price and supply conditions. ($31,610 for 2008 for second part of program.)
    • Practical Farmers of Iowa Inc. 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 companion project for 2008.)
    • 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.

In addition to the $1 million grant program, Smithfield agreed in the 2005 settlement to pay $1 million to Iowa State University for a ten-year environmental training program, and $240,000 over a four-year period to fund Smithfield-Luter Scholarships at ISU.

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