Iowa attorney general Tom Miller has announced grant funds totaling $100,000 are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa. Announced Feb. 10, the proposals are due by Feb. 15, 2012.

The $100,000 in grant money marks the sixth 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 swine projects in Iowa eligible for the grants. The Request for Applications and required grant application forms, instructions and requirements can be accessed at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov (go to “Working for Farmers”). Interested individuals may also call the attorney general’s farm division at (515) 281-8359 or e-mail 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. They will award $100,000 for 2012 to projects that demonstrate financial need and  promote innovative hog production in Iowa.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Iowans to help fund their innovative programs to advance swine production throughout our state,” Miller states.

The grant program was born out 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. The program commenced in 2006 and Smithfield pledged to work with Iowans to ensure the projects sustain the environment and further the state’s hog production industry.

Projects are encouraged in the following areas:

Environment: Projectsshould address the environmental impact of swine production on air and water quality.

Profitability: Projects should address ways to lower the cost of swine production, address swine disease problems, increase efficiency, create new pork products or create new markets for pork.

Contract feeding: Projects should address issues in contract feeding including competition, fairness and efficiency.

Independent producers: Projects shouldaddress the ability of independent hog producers to compete in areas related to market access, price transparency, niche marketing of pork, producer networking and financing.

Market information: Projects should address the issue of price discovery and availability of market information in the hog industry.