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For immediate release – Friday, October 19, 2007.

Contact Bob Brammer – 515-281-6699.

 

Miller: $100,000 in Grants Available to Enhance Swine Industry

New round of grants is for second year of program totaling $1 million over ten years. Applications are due by Dec. 20 for projects related to increasing profits, helping independent producers compete, making market information available, protecting the environment, and other goals. The grants are funded by Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday that grant funds totaling $100,000 next year are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa. Proposals are due by Dec. 20, 2007.

The $100,000 in grants are for the second year of a program funded by Smithfield Foods, which is paying $1 million over ten years for the program. Miller released a “Request for Applications” (RFA) to identify and support innovative Iowa projects eligible for the grants.

Grant application forms, instructions, and requirements are available with the Request for Application. Interested persons also may call the Attorney General’s Farm Division at 515-281-5351, or send e-mail to FARM@ag.state.ia.us.

The Attorney General’s Office, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods, Inc., and two Democratic and two Republican legislators, will evaluate proposals submitted under the RFA and award $100,000 for next year to projects that demonstrate financial need and will promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner.

Miller said: “This 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 their contract producers.”

When the grants program was announced in October 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.”

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More Details and Background

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.

Grants that were awarded for 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 develop an economic model that can be used by Iowa swine producers to evaluate the economic viability of utilizing dried distillers grain and solubles and other ethanol industry bi-products as feed ingredients in a wide range of feed input price and supply conditions.

Practical Farmers of Iowa, Inc., 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.

The Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County was awarded $24,399.50 to do 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.

Origin of the 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 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. . . .”

The state lawmakers participating in reviewing the proposals are Sen. Tom Rielly (D-Oskaloosa), Sen. Hubert Houser (R-Carson), Rep. Marci Frevert (D-Emmetsburg), and Rep. Steve Olson (R-DeWitt.)

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.

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