Grant funds totaling up to $250,000 are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Proposals are due by April 19.

The grant money is for the seventh 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” (RFA) to identify and support innovative Iowa projects eligible for the grants.

The Request for Applications and required grant application forms, instructions, and requirements (click here for the Excel version) may be accessed at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov (go to “Working for Farmers”). Those who are interested also may call the Attorney General’s Farm Division at (515) 281-8359, or send an e-mail to marc.wallin@iowa.gov.

The Office of the 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,” Miller says. “We want to continue this momentum by helping fund more innovative ideas.”

 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview and get the latest news right to your inbox every Monday!

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 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.”

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

 

In  projects awarded in 2012 to Iowa State University (ISU), J.(Hans) van Leeuwenwas 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 Sept. 16, 2005, the Attorney General and Smithfield Foods, Inc., 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. [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.