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Mar 28

Committee Awards Nearly $225,000 in Grants to Enhance Swine Industry

dollars-moneyDES MOINES – A statewide program to educate pork producers about manure pit safety, and research projects to combat E. coli in piglets and to help diagnose sow lameness, will share nearly $225,000 in the final allocation of a ten-year, $1 million program to advance and enhance swine production in Iowa.

A bipartisan state selection committee awarded the 2015 funds through the Smithfield grant program. The initiative began in 2005 to advance and enhance swine production in Iowa through projects that demonstrate financial need and promote hog production in Iowa in an innovative manner. The annual award program was launched through a landmark 2005 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.

Attorney General Tom Miller’s office, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods Inc., and two Democratic and two Republican state legislators, evaluated 15 submitted proposals and awarded nearly $225,000.

“We are really pleased to allocate the remaining Smithfield grant funds to a mix of projects that do exactly what we all intended when we created and first launched the grant program,” Miller said. “This year’s grant recipients will conduct research on problems that lead to losses for Iowa hog producers, and a program to promote safety around swine manure storage facilities.”

2015 Grant Recipients
The committee awarded the 2015 funds to the following three recipients, who agree to make the results of the sponsored research publicly available:

Dr. John Patience, Iowa State University ($49,696): The study will look at the effects of dietary fiber supplements with or without NSP degrading enzymes on the health and performance of weaned pigs challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli). The disease causes economic losses for pig producers.

Dr. Anna Johnson, Iowa State University ($123,693): The project will attempt to validate the sow lameness diagnostic manual, to determine whether the lameness diagnostic guide can identify naturally occurring sow lameness. Sow lameness is a major production issue and is the second most important reason for culling.

Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) ($50,000): The project will enhance pork producer knowledge and awareness of on-farm safety hazards and standard operating procedures associated with manure storage areas.

“Farmer and farm employee safety are of utmost importance for all in agriculture,” IPPA president Dave Struthers said. “We hope the additional resources and educational outreach made possible by these grant funds can continue to encourage strong safety measures and help prevent future farm injuries in Iowa.”

The committee comprised representatives of the Office of the Attorney General, Smithfield Foods, Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone), Sen. Steve Sodders (D-State Center), Rep. Chris Hagenow, (R-Windsor Heights) and Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton).

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