IFEEDER Launches Industrywide Sustainability Project

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), along with The Context Network, officially launched a project this month to develop a sustainability road map for the animal food industry. The road map will support the advancement of both corporate sustainability programs and climate-smart initiatives with key stakeholders. Through industry and stakeholder assessment, IFEEDER will evaluate risks and opportunities within each animal food industry segment to determine the extent of support to be mapped and further developed.

“Our recent conversations with member companies about their sustainability programs have illuminated the fact that everyone in our industry – no matter where they are at in their sustainability journeys – wants to do more to help their customers achieve their climate pledges and meet changing consumer expectations,” said Lara Moody, IFEEDER’s executive director. “By leveraging the expertise of The Context Network, our goal is to use research and analysis to identify and advance strategies and tools our members can use to improve their sustainability programs and meet the needs of their stakeholders.”

The road map development will be conducted in three phases, with the first phase focusing on developing a gap analysis to understand the barriers preventing companies from launching or measuring progress on sustainability programs and mapping the stakeholders impacted by industry initiatives. The second phase will be to conduct qualitative and quantitative research by working with select scientific advisors focused on environmental sustainability in the feed industry along with AFIA members and key supply chain advisors. The last phase will be developing key findings, tools and strategies the industry can use to advance their sustainability programs and communicate their vision to key influencers.

A good sustainability road map will enable all members of the U.S. feed and pet food industry to collaboratively make progress on issues that are important to them, their customers and the communities they operate in,” said Matt Sutton-Vermeulen, principal of The Context Network. “That means companies that have yet to begin their sustainability journeys will have an ‘on-ramp’ to get up to speed, while other companies with mature sustainability programs will be able to stay on track to make continuous improvements.”

IFEEDER continues to seek partners willing to join in the sustainability road map project, which is one part of its multifaceted strategies to advance understanding and trust in a sustainable animal food industry. To date, Arm and Hammer Animal and Food Production, Animix, LLC, Anipro/Xtraformance Feeds, Belstra Milling, Berg+Schmidt America, LLC, Bill Barr & Company, Inc., CJ Bio America, Inc., ED&F Man Liquid Products LLC, Elanco Animal Health, Kemin, The Mosaic Company, United Animal Health, Inc., Westway Feed Products and Zinpro Corporation have joined the effort.

More about IFEEDER’s sustainability road map project, including recent webinars with The Context Network, can be found at ifeeder.org/sustainability/.

Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Institute for Feed Education and Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is a critical link in the ever-evolving food supply chain. Serving as a champion for the animal food industry, IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that ensure consumers have access to a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. IFEEDER focuses its work in two primary areas: funding critical animal feed and pet food research to support AFIA’s legislative and regulatory positions, and developing appropriate messaging for policymakers, consumer influencers and stakeholders which highlights the industry’s positive contributions to the availability of safe, wholesome and affordable food, and the preservation of our natural resources.

The Context Network is the premier global agribusiness business management and strategy consulting firm, providing services to the world’s leading agriculture, biotechnology and food companies.  Through its broad-ranging set of associates and dynamic network of experts, Context assembles best in class project teams dedicated to delivering customer value across both global and local markets in food, fuel and fiber.

USDA Funds Scientific Collaboration to Reduce Methane Emissions in Dairy Operations

New Project to conduct on-Farm trials of innovative feed management strategies

The Nature Conservancy, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Institute for Feed Education and Research are launching a three-year project to explore innovative feed management strategies that can reduce enteric methane emissions in dairy cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a $537,440 award for this project through its Conservation Innovation Grants On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trial program. With project partner resource contributions, the project will total more than $800,000.

Working with up to 10 dairy farms in Michigan and Wisconsin, this project will combine on-farm trials and demonstrations of emerging technologies with strategic engagement of critical stakeholders including farmers, farm advisors, industry, carbon market players, and regulators for scaling the adoption of feed management strategies. The project will provide direct financial support to participating farmers to cover their costs of participation and as a direct incentive to participate.

Each organization will have a key role in the project:

  • The Nature Conservancy will oversee project management and lead producer and stakeholder survey efforts to inform project deliverables and corresponding outreach, education, and engagement.
  • The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will lead the on-farm trials and demonstrations and oversee outreach and communication of project findings.
  • The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) will develop and manage the industry and scientific expert panel to provide technical review and insights as well as manage a third party to undertake the on-farm trial economic assessment.

“The opportunity to work directly with farmers to test out feed management strategies, including the use of additives, and gain more insights, both scientific and anecdotal, will help the industry scale the adoption of climate-smart practices that are good for the planet and financially advantageous for operators,” said Alisha Staggs, dairy program manager for The Nature Conservancy in North America. “Our project will help inform greenhouse gas mitigation strategies for cattle, Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, and the development of protocols for measuring enteric emissions—all in service of mitigating one of U.S. dairy’s largest emission sources.”

Methane emissions—from a variety of sources including oil and gas, coal, agriculture and landfills—comprise one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse (GHG) emissions, with enteric methane emissions accounting for 25% of cradle-to-grave GHG emissions by the U.S. dairy sector. Given the ambitious goal of the recent agreement between the United States and the European Union to reduce overall methane emissions by 30% by 2030, this project could help U.S. dairy operations reduce emissions, which in turn, could have a significant impact across the industry.

“Feed rations and feed additives can significantly impact the carbon footprint associated with dairy, livestock and poultry production, and the feed industry is integral to developing and supporting these strategies for reduced GHG emissions on farms,” said Lara Moody, executive director of IFEEDER. “This project will support efforts to advance the use of these solutions through more informed on-farm and stakeholder decision making and is part of IFEEDER’s long-term approach to supporting sustainability efforts across the animal protein sector.”

Feed management, including additives, to reduce emissions is gaining interest as an approach to reduce the dairy industry’s carbon footprint. However, the strategies are not widely used within USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, nor do project currently exist to generate credits within carbon markets, making it difficult to support an economic case for adoption. This project aims to better understand the barriers to adoption and overcome those barriers by sharing on-trial results, economic assessments and scientific insights to better inform NRCS programming and engage a wide spectrum of key stakeholders to scale adoption via private and public sector-supported pathways.

The partners are conducting this effort in support of the U.S. Dairy’s Net Zero Initiative (NZI), a five-year, collaborative effort launched in 2020, which includes research, on-farm pilots and partner-based strategies to develop a pathway on-farm to reaching the 2050 environmental stewardship goals set by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. NZI seeks to accelerate voluntary action to reduce environmental impacts by making sustainable practices and technologies more accessible and affordable to U.S. dairy farms of all sizes and geographies.

“Enteric methane mitigation is not a novel field of research but demonstrating that the most promising options are effective on-farm is critical to the widescale adoption necessary to meet the dairy industry’s environmental goals,” says Dr. Juan Tricarico, vice president for sustainability research at the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Dairy operations exist across the 50 U.S. states and are an integral part of the global food system. By exploring innovative feed management strategies and engaging key stakeholders, this collaborative project seeks to close scientific gaps and inform industrywide practices that will reduce dairy’s environmental footprint, while ensuring operations are sustainable.

“The livestock sector is a crucial part of the agriculture system,” said Staggs. “This project will advance innovative techniques that will deliver tangible outcomes for the good of the environment, farmers and, ultimately, consumers.”

AFIA, IFEEDER Welcome Emily Igli

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) are pleased to announce the addition of Emily Anne Igli as the new development and operations specialist, effective July 12.

Igli will provide tactical support for Constance Cullman, AFIA’s president and CEO, and Lara Moody, IFEEDER’s executive director, as well as facilitating Board operations and donor stewardship. She will also support the IFEEDER Board of Trustees and deliver reports on fundraising efforts and results, while working closely with the IFEEDER executive director to establish and implement the overall strategic direction for the public charity. Additionally, she will work closely with the AFIA communications team, developing strategies for a development presence in all communications and marketing. 

Emily Igli

“Emily’s past experience in agricultural government relations and interest in sustainability makes her an excellent asset to the AFIA team,” said Cullman. “I’m thrilled to welcome her and I look forward to seeing the new perspective and expertise she will bring to our association and industry research arm.”

Bringing a wealth of experience from the interpersonal facets of various business organizations, Igli values the importance of quality communication while fostering creativity and tangible sustainability in the workplace. Prior to joining the AFIA and IFEEDER, Igli learned the ins and outs of corporate agriculture as she completed a professional clerkship with Tyson Foods in their legal and federal government relations department. 

Igli holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from the University of Arkansas. She can be reached at (703) 558-3577.

IFEEDER Board Working to Advance Industry’s Sustainability Journey

ARLINGTON, Va. – May 12, 2021 – This week, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) held its annual Board of Trustees meeting to review the public charity’s accomplishments over the past year, discuss strategic priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and install new trustees and Board leadership.

“Animal agriculture has an important voice in the heightened conversations on climate change and sustainability. Within the animal food industry, important innovations and game-changing solutions are being advanced to ensure a healthy environment and clean air and water while ensuring a safe and nutritious food supply,” said Lara Moody, IFEEDER’s executive director. “To ensure industry efforts are recognized and utilized to achieve the desired outcomes, the IFEEDER Board is committed to filling research and knowledge gaps as well as developing tools to advance sustainable actions.”

The Board supports incorporating a strategy focused on advancing solutions and being a resource for the animal food industry’s sustainability journey. A key project this year includes developing a road map for industry members to determine their environmental footprints, pursue climate change mitigation strategies and communicate continuous improvement efforts.

Scott Druker

As part of the business meeting, the trustees recognized Tim Belstra, of Belstra Milling Co., for his leadership as Board chair for the 2020-21 IFEEDER fiscal year and installed Scott Druker, Ph.D., of Church & Dwight Company, Inc., as the new chair for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The IFEEDER Board voted to accept the nomination of John Metzger, of Elanco Animal Health, as its vice chair for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

With the installation of three new trustees (noted with asterisks), the IFEEDER Board of Trustees now includes: Tim Belstra of Belstra Milling Co.; Partha Bora of Wilbur-Ellis; Leah Dorman, D.V.M., of Phibro Animal Health Corporation; Scott Druker, Ph.D., of Church & Dwight Company, Inc.; Kevin Halpin, Ph.D., of International Ingredient Corporation; Steve Lerner, Ph.D., of Chr. Hansen Animal Health and Nutrition; Joe Lucas of CJ Bio America, Inc.; Mark Lueking of Cargill Animal Nutrition; Ashley McDonald of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and John Metzger of Elanco Animal Health.

IFEEDER would like to recognize and thank the following outgoing Board members for their support and service: Eduardo Galo of Novus International, Inc.; Michael Goble of Diamond V; Chad Risley, Ph.D., of Berg+Schmidt America, LLC; and A. Wayne Rod of The F.L. Emmert Company.

Editorial note: For a high-resolution photo to use for editorial purposes, please contact Lacie Dotterweich, AFIA’s manager of communications and social media.

IFEEDER Welcomes New Executive Director Lara Moody

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) is pleased to announce the addition of Lara Moody as its new executive director, effective April 30. Moody will provide visionary leadership to IFEEDER’s activities including program development, strategic partnerships and collaborative resourcing. Working closely with IFEEDER’s Board of Trustees and committee members, she will develop and support resources and related efforts to advance the public charity’s research and education mission. Collaborating with the American Feed Industry Association to pursue and communicate the institute’s work, she will create opportunities to engage donors and further the dialogue on important issues impacting the feed industry.

“As the animal food industry evolves, innovates and works to address emerging global challenges, we need visionary leadership to ask the tough questions, provide reliable data and research and engage with stakeholders and the food chain to advance solutions and understand the issues that impact our business,” said IFEEDER’s President and AFIA’s President and CEO Constance Cullman. “Lara’s demonstrated thought leadership, experience building initiatives and programs, background in sustainability and success in managing industry and academic research programs, will position IFEEDER to successfully fulfill its research and education focus for the future.”

Moody joined IFEEDER from The Fertilizer Institute, where she served as the vice president of stewardship and sustainability. In this position, she led the development and implementation of The Fertilizer Institute’s programs to increase the use and adoption of fertilizer best management practices and oversaw sustainability initiatives related to fertilizer production and its use in the field. Moody has also worked in research and extension programs at Iowa State University and the University of Tennessee.

Moody holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and master’s degree in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She can be reached at lmoody@afia.org or (703) 650-0148.

IFEEDER Releases 2019-20 Annual Report

ARLINGTON, Va. – Oct. 22, 2020 – The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) released its 2019-20 annual report this week, providing financial and project highlights for the 501(c)(3) public charity over the past year.

“The research and education work IFEEDER does to provide the facts in the face of all the misinformation and marketing hype being done today must continue. No matter what part of the animal food industry you are in, we all benefit from IFEEDER’s work,” said Bruce Crutcher, 2019-20 IFEEDER chair. “The research and education that it provides allows each of us to learn and grow. It helps each of us to make our businesses a little bit better than they were the year before. And it helps build trust and understanding of the feed industry’s role in producing safe, nutritious and affordable animal protein.”

The annual report provides details on several IFEEDER projects initiated over the past fiscal year, including:
• launching the Global Feed LCA Institute;
• supporting responsible agricultural communications;
• evaluating African swine fever biosecurity risks at feed mills; and
• quantifying the pet food industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy.

In addition to the project updates, the annual report details IFEEDER’s support of two funds – the Kenny Berg Research and Education Fund and the American Feed Industry Association’s Equipment Manufacturers Committee’s Scholarship Fund – and its priorities for the 2020-21 fiscal year, including developing an industry-wide sustainability roadmap, analyzing swine disease transmission through a dynamic modeling tool and examining the economic and sustainability impacts of non-genetically modified livestock and poultry feed. The report is available at ifeeder.org/annual-report.

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About IFEEDER
Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Institute for Feed Education and Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is a critical link in the ever-evolving food supply chain. Serving as a champion for the animal food industry, IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that ensure consumers have access to a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. IFEEDER focuses its work in two primary areas: funding critical animal feed and pet food research to support AFIA’s legislative and regulatory positions, and developing appropriate messaging for policymakers, consumer influencers and stakeholders which highlights the industry’s positive contributions to the availability of safe, wholesome and affordable food, and the preservation of our natural resources.

Institute For Feed Education and Research
2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 810
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 524-0810
ifeeder.org

IFEEDER Seeks Contractor to Develop Feed Industry’s “Sustainability Road Map”

ARLINGTON, Va. – July 30, 2020 – This week, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) posted a request for proposals (RFP) for the first phase of a new research project it aims to conduct that will assist the feed industry in addressing sustainability in a comprehensive, consistent and strategic way. IFEEDER is accepting proposals until 5 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 31, 2020.

“Across the animal feed industry, we have seen companies take compelling action to reduce their environmental footprints and make a difference in their communities, but there are others that are understandably unsure of where to start,” said Robert Cooper, IFEEDER’s executive director. “At the direction of the IFEEDER Board of Trustees, through counsel and partnership with the leadership of the American Feed Industry Association and AFIA Sustainability Oversight Committee, we are working to fill that void by developing a clear strategy that member companies can use when building their internal sustainability programs.”

Specifically, IFEEDER is seeking a contractor that can help the feed industry:
• identify the sustainability risks and needs of AFIA’s members by segment (e.g., feed manufacturer vs. ingredient manufacturer, etc.);
• develop tools that AFIA’s members can use to enhance or build their own sustainability programs;
• clearly communicate and articulate sustainability for the American animal feed sector;
• target specific sustainability research topics to close knowledge gaps; and
• develop a “sustainability roadmap” that helps AFIA members and IFEEDER connect the industry’s overall sustainability story with the values of its stakeholders.
“Our goal with this project is to promote trust in the feed industry as a committed partner in bringing forward sustainable protein and dairy products to the marketplace,” Cooper said.

The request for proposals is designed for a 12-18 month research project, which will accomplish the first phase of the project. Based on the results, phase two of the project will implement the sustainability roadmap initiative. An RFP announcing the second phase of the project will be issued later.

The IFEEDER Research Committee will make the final selection of the contractor, to recommend to the Board for its approval, based on a competitive bidding and scoring process. Projects with matching funds or in-kind contributions will be given slightly higher priority.

Specific parameters, requirements and submission of the proposed research project can be found on IFEEDER’s website. Interested companies can contact Cooper at rcooper@afia.org for questions.

New Research Shows U.S. Pet Food Manufacturers Feed America’s Pets and Agricultural Economy, Reduce Food Waste

First-of-its-kind research finds that U.S. pet food manufacturers not only provide balanced, safe meals for America’s dogs and cats, but also stimulate the overall agricultural economy through the purchase of ingredients, labor and services from related industries. The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), North American Renderers Association (NARA) and Pet Food Institute (PFI) released a new, jointly funded report today detailing the purchasing power of the $30 billion pet food industry and its economic implications for U.S. agriculture and rural communities. The report also includes an in-depth review of the diverse ingredients most commonly included in dog or cat food. The full report is available online at ifeeder.org.

“This is the first time our three organizations – IFEEDER, NARA and PFI – have partnered using our unique expertise to address a knowledge gap on behalf of our members,” said Constance Cullman, IFEEDER president. “We were able to develop a comprehensive study that illustrates just how remarkable our industry is at feeding America’s cats and dogs, stimulating the rural economy and meeting its commitments to sustainability.”  

The research finds that U.S. pet food manufacturers give back to the agricultural economy by using 8.65 million tons of animal- and plant-based ingredients for dog and cat food to provide the complete nutrition that pets need, at a value of $6.9 billion. The data, compiled and presented by the economic research and analysis firm Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), shows that pet food manufacturers use an estimated 3.8 million tons of animal-based products, such as rendered products or meat and poultry. Pet food manufacturers also use 4 million tons of farm and farm-product processor ingredients, such as grains, soy products and fruits and vegetables, and approximately 200,000 tons of seafood products. Many of these ingredients are left over from making food for people, such as parts of the animal that people do not eat, reducing food and environmental waste while still providing the nutrition pets need.

Pet food manufacturers produced approximately 10 million tons of dog and cat food in the one-year period studied between June 2018 and June 2019. The top five ingredients used in pet food, based on volume, were whole grains, poultry, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal and soybean meal. Among U.S. Department of Agriculture defined specialty crops – peas, beet pulp and sweet potatoes topped the list of leading ingredients. A review of pet food labels found more than 500 diverse ingredients used in pet food, indicating a variety of choices available for shoppers to meet their pets’ needs.

The research also showed that U.S. pet food manufacturers are buying many of their ingredients from America’s heartland, with the top five states being Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Ohio. Ingredients purchases reached almost $1 billion in Missouri alone. The purchase of these products from farmers and farmer-product processors stimulates additional upstream economic activity to other related agricultural industries via the multiplier effect. The exchange of pet food ingredients leads to the purchase of an additional $5.3 billion of important materials and services for farmers and farm processors, such as crop inputs, machinery and labor. In addition, those suppliers buy an additional $4.1 billion in services, equipment and labor to meet related needs.

“Two-thirds of U.S. households have a pet at home, meaning that the pet food industry not only plays an important role in the lives of more than 100 million families, but also for our country’s agricultural community,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “This data is an important step in helping to quantify the economic value this industry brings to our economy and all of U.S. agriculture. As pet lovers, we’ve known the value that pets bring to our lives, but can now further confirm the significance of the entire pet food industry.”

The rendered protein ingredients that pet food manufacturers use to make pet food are highly sustainable. Rendering reduces food waste by transforming otherwise unused portions of an animal to create safe and nutritious pet food ingredients. The rendering process also naturally returns billions of gallons of water into the environment as clean water and has a greenhouse gas reduction equivalent of removing millions of cars off the road, all sustainable practices that are reflected in the finished pet food product.

“With pet parents’ growing interest in the sustainability and carbon footprint of their pets’ food, we feel it is important to highlight that the rendered protein ingredients in their pets’ food is not only nutritious but is also helping to reduce food waste,” said Nancy Foster, president and CEO of NARA. “While about half of an animal isn’t eaten by people, that food provides proteins that our pets crave due to the high nutrient content. Rendering takes that material, which would have otherwise been wasted in landfills or going down the drain, and transforms it into the safe and nutritious pet food that dogs and cats need.”

A full version of the report prepared by DIS, as well as an interactive map detailing economic projections at a state level, are available online at ifeeder.org.

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ABOUT INSTITUTE FOR FEED EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Institute for Feed Education and Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is a critical link in the ever-evolving food supply chain. Serving as a champion for the animal food industry, IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that ensure consumers have access to a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. IFEEDER focuses its work in two primary areas: funding critical animal feed and pet food research to support AFIA’s legislative and regulatory positions, and developing appropriate messaging for policymakers, consumer influencers and stakeholders, which highlights the industry’s positive contributions to the availability of safe, wholesome and affordable food and the preservation of our natural resources.

ABOUT PET FOOD INSTITUTE 
Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food and treat makers. PFI is the industry’s representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food and treat products, an industry with more than $30 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.62 billion in exports in 2019. Visit petfoodinstitute.org to learn more.  

ABOUT NARA
The North American Renderers Association (NARA) represents the interests of the North American rendering industry to regulatory and other governmental agencies, promotes the greater use of animal byproducts, and fosters the opening and expansion of trade between foreign buyers and North American exporters. In addition to its U.S.-based headquarters, the association maintains offices in Mexico and Hong Kong, and has market consultants in strategic locations around the world. NARA publishes a bi-monthly trade magazine, Render. For more information, visit NARA.org.