THE U.S. feed industry donated $6 million toward local community efforts in 2011-12, according to a survey recently conducted by the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA).
AFIA said members were asked in the survey about sustainable efforts of supporting the community, which is the sixth focal point of AFIA's Sustainability Initiative that seeks to:
1. Continuously improve feed and food safety;
2. Optimize the use of energy and natural resources;
3. Promote understanding and appreciation of U.S. food production;
4. (Improve) production efficiency and productivity;
5. Embrace innovation, and
6. Support the community.
The survey was sent to AFIA members in October 2012 in an attempt to quantify industry efforts in various areas of sustainability.
For the feed industry, AFIA defines sustainability as such: "A sustainable feed industry provides a continuous, safe and nutritious feed supply for poultry, livestock, fish and pets in a manner that optimizes environmental quality and the use of natural resources while positively affecting the social and economic well-being of customers, their communities and the industry."
AFIA president and chief executive officer Joel G. Newman said, "The results of the survey show that the U.S. feed industry takes pride not only in the production of healthy, wholesome meat, milk, fish, eggs and (pet foods) but also in supporting local communities and pulling together in times when the country is in need."
Not only did the feed industry give generously in monetary donations, but the industry was also physically active, volunteering 23,700 man-hours toward various causes, AFIA noted. According to the survey results, AFIA members most frequently invested in community development activities for or charitable giving toward education (schools, scholarships and research grants), FFA/4-H, health-related organizations, local fire/police precincts and environmental cleanup projects.
Donations and volunteer hours toward hunger and disaster relief organizations/efforts (American Red Cross, United Way and Habitat for Humanity, as well as natural disaster relief efforts for Haiti, the Missouri tornados in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy) also ranked high on the list, as did volunteering, fund-raising and cash donations supporting these initiatives.
AFIA established a Sustainability Task Force in 2009 under former board chair Brian Rittgers. The task force identified the six key sustainable focal points, which are designed for communication and collaboration among organizations, companies or associations.
In 2013, AFIA will highlight feed industry activities relating to the other five sustainable focal points, the announcement said.
AFIA, based in Arlington, Va., is the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal feed industry and its suppliers. Members include more than 500 domestic and international companies and state, regional and national associations that manufacture more than 70% of the feed in the U.S.