RESEARCH

Research funding supports forward-thinking initiatives that align with IFEEDER’s mission to be a “champion for safe and sustainable feed and food production” with focus in three major areas:

  • Support legislative and regulatory positions;
  • Support policymaker and consumer influencer advocacy messages where data or facts are needed to create the compelling message; and
  • Support the sustainability of the industry though projects identified and recommended by the Research Committee and advisory council.

Supporting data and information for legislative or regulatory issues is not funded by traditional avenues of research done by universities or private companies. As the animal food industry is faced with more and more regulatory concerns, it is important the regulations are reasonable and impactful. Through IFEEDER, the industry can collectively strengthen its positions and fund strategic research projects to support policy positions, practical regulations, timely application of new technologies and critical research gaps.

Research initiatives are guided by their priority and alignment with one of three pillars:

  • Legislative and regulatory policy support;
  • Feed and food safety; or
  • Sustainability.

CURRENT PROJECTS

IFEEDER has a number of important research projects in process including:

  • National Salmonella Feed Sampling Research Project: IFEEDER provided a grant to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) to conduct a national survey of feed to determine the presence and type of Salmonella in feed. The University of Arkansas is providing the researchers and laboratory facilities for this project. AFIA and several other trade organizations are providing funds for sampling equipment and analytical work. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a guidance document specifying the eight Salmonella serotypes of concern that may affect animal health. FDA is encouraging this national sampling. These eight serotypes have not been associated with feed and the published report from the project will hopefully demonstrate that Salmonella in feed is not a reasonably foreseeable hazard for feed, except in pet food.
  • Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI): IFEEDER provided a grant to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) to participate in the North American GFLI project. This initiative is creating regional databases and a modelling tool to benchmark the environmental impact of feeding livestock and poultry production based on the scientifically robust life cycle analysis (LCA) methodology for feed developed under the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) partnership. According to the FAO, feed production represents 45 percent of the carbon footprint of livestock products; therefore, it is important for the feed industry to use a harmonized set of standard methods to monitor feed ingredient LCA. Ultimately this will demonstrate the continuous improvement of the feed industry. Along with the North American project, the European Union, China and Brazil, as well as the global aquaculture industry, will be developing their own regional databases. GFLI represents the gold standard for assessing the feed impact of livestock and poultry production, supporting targeted improvements and recognizing the positive contributions of technology and best practices.
  • Assessing Intestinal Absorption of Amino Acids from Various Feedstuffs: This three-year project at Virginia Tech began in July 2015. The purpose of this work is to determine ruminal nitrogen degradability and intestinal amino acid availability for corn silage, grass hay, alfalfa hay, soyhulls, dried distillers grains, dried brewers grains and corn grain. Existing methods of assessing intestinal amino acid availability in cattle can be expensive, time intensive and inaccurate. This experiment uses a novel method of evaluating ruminal nitrogen degradability and intestinal amino acid availability based on stable isotope dilution. Such knowledge will lead to more precision, which will allow reproducible supplementation, reduced dietary nitrogen and reduced environmental loading. This research fulfills a critical research gap which will allow the industry to further expand.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

IFEEDER has completed a number of important research projects including:

  • Generic Hazard Analysis: Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, all animal food facilities are responsible for creating an animal food safety plan, including a hazard analysis unique to each individual facility. IFEEDER co-funded a research project conducted by the University of Minnesota, to create a one-of-a-kind generic hazard analysis resource for facilities to use as guidance in this process. This tool will help facilities save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of employee time. It also supports that a majority of feed manufacturing risks (except microbial risks) are mitigated with current good manufacturing practices. This significantly reduces animal food safety plan requirements for member companies.
  • Livestock Environmental Assessment & Performance Project (LEAP): After more than three years of hard work between the U.S. and European feed industries, and in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global gold standard model to accurately measure the impact feed and feed ingredients have on the environment has been released. This tool provides the standard that can be used by all livestock and poultry organizations, universities and other organizations can use the most accurate species-specific life-cycle assessments (LCA). IFEEDER provided $72,400 toward this $1-million-plus project. This methodology has also concluded the U.S. livestock and poultry sectors contribute only four percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, information AFIA shared with the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture resulting in the removal of the recommended environmental criteria from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
  • Ingredient Approvals Economic Impact: In recent years, the FDA process for new ingredient approvals has been stagnant, at best. IFEEDER funded an independent, in-depth survey on the impact this is having on your businesses, showing how the lack of a cohesive, functioning process for the approval of new technologies affects industry. Results showed an average investment of $600,000 goes toward product approval costs per product, and the average industry loss is $1.75 million annually due to the Food and Drug Administration approval process delays. AFIA is using this sound analysis with U.S. government officials to develop a plan to improve the overall process and remove the log-jam of approvals.
  • Preparing the Industry for Another PEDV Outbreak: Following the May 2013 outbreak of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the United States, IFEEDER partnered with the National Pork Board and other groups to fund research that looks at the virology, pathology and modes of transmission of the virus. Since the virus had never been found in the United States previously, very little was known about it. The pork industry spent more than $3.5 million, of which IFEEDER donated $100,000. Over the past three years, the research project has identified knowledge gaps and opportunities for action so that the industry can be better prepared in the event of another PEDV outbreak.

Interested in learning about IFEEDER’s other current projects, sign up for our e-newsletter now.

SUBMIT PROJECT IDEA

The IFEEDER Research Committee sends out requests for proposals once a research topic has been identified. Research topics are identified from the Advisory Council or via a need recognized by an American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) committee. It is important that the areas of research align with the three focus areas of:

  • Legislative and regulatory policy support;
  • Feed and food safety; and
  • Sustainability.

For more information, contact IFEEDER at ifeeder@ifeeder.org.

KENNY BERG RESEARCH AND EDUCATION FUND

IFEEDER and the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Liquid Feed Committee work together to foster the positive image of liquid feed as a vehicle for nutrient supplementation via the Kenny Berg Research and Education Fund. At the annual Liquid Feed Symposium, attendees raise funds for the Kenny Berg Research and Education Fund, which is a designated fund maintained within the foundation.

The Kenny Berg Research and Education Fund has provided more than 15 grants to universities to support research that will benefit the liquid feed industry. The focus of the research is to expand on and improve use of liquid feed supplements to the beef and dairy industries as well as to non-ruminants.

Currently, a research project is being conducted at West Texas A&M University with a focus on the effects of adding liquid lactose or molasses to pelleted swine diets on pellet quality and pig performance.

Completed research projects: