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Animal food industry's 2016 charitable giving rises significantly

Industry’s community service hours up 28% from 2015 level.

The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) this week released the results of its annual "Community Involvement & Charitable Giving Survey," which revealed the animal food industry's volunteer hours in 2016 to be significantly higher than in 2015.

The informal poll, conducted at the close of each year, tallies community service hours and funds donated by participating companies. Results showed more than 41,000 hours of community service donated by AFIA member companies' employees in 2016 — a 28% increase from 2015. Nearly $2.2 million also were contributed to an expansive list of community causes.

"We could not be more proud of our member companies' initiatives to give back in 2016. Servicing the community to be a better place to live, work and visit — through both funding dollars and volunteer hours — is part of AFIA's sustainability initiative," AFIA president and chief executive officer Joel Newman said.

The feed industry defines the term "sustainability" as: The ability to provide 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 members identified charities focused on education, civil service, agriculture, health and collegiate grants/research as key causes to which to contribute both funds and volunteer time, with 96% of respondents engaging in ways to enhance educational programs, up 1% from 2015. Civil service charities also ranked high with respondents, at an 88% contribution level, up a significant 18% from 2015. In total, members donated to 443 various charities in 2016.

"This is the sixth consecutive year (according to Charity Navigator) charitable giving has increased. Funds donated by corporations alone are up nearly 4%," Newman said. "We are pleased to see AFIA members contributing to these worthy causes."

AFIA established a Sustainability Task Force in 2009. It identified four key sustainable focal points designed for communication and collaboration among organizations, companies and associations. "Support the Community" is one of the four focal points AFIA asks its members to participate in as part of its sustainability initiative. The remaining focal points are: optimize the use of energy and natural resources for feed production; enhance production efficiency and productivity, and promote the understanding and appreciation of U.S. food production.

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