The nation's third largest livestock feed company is launching a program to revitalize the Midwest's cattle and hog operations.

Kent Feeds President Jack May declares: "The livestock industry is this region's best opportunity to add value to raw materials and build the economies of the upper Midwest."

Kent, based in Muscatine, IA, is introducing its Midwest Livestock Initiative to build awareness of the potential growth of agriculture in several Corn Belt states. In 10 years, Kent would like to see a 10% increase of locally grown grain fed to locally grown livestock.

The economic value of commodity grains increases enormously when they are processed by livestock into higher-value protein products such as meat and milk. Raising livestock in the area where the grain is produced creates more income that can be passed from farmers to businesses and communities, according to the feed company.

An increase in Midwest livestock feeding would reverse a trend of decline. A Kent study shows that between 1985-1995, cattle feeding declined by 11% in 11 midwestern states and dairy cattle declined 23%. Hog numbers increased by a paltry 3%.

Such growth must be done responsibly. "We recommend that construction of all new swine units include deep pits or shallow pits flushing into slurry basins for the storage of waste nutrients," says May. "These nutrients should be knifed or disked into the ground to reduce odor and increase the nutrient value." May says Kent Feeds is advising no new construction of lagoons for handling swine waste nutrients.

Kent Financing, Expertise Kent Feeds offers free and confidential cash flow projections, low-interest financing for the purchase of Kent Feeds, interest-free loans of $75/gilt for herd expansion and a loan for converting your feed system to bulk feeds or expanding your bulk system.

Kent may guarantee up to 20% of loans obtained from your local lender for expansion, remodeling or upgrading facilities. Engineering service is also free to Kent Feeds customers.

For more information about any of these projects or services, contact your Kent Feeds dealer or call Vern Stille, treasurer, 1-800-552-9620, ext. 4419