Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced that grant funds totaling $1 million over the next 10 years are available for projects that advance and enhance swine production in Iowa. Smithfield Foods is paying $100,000 per year for 10 years for the program.

Miller released a "Request for Applications" to identify and support innovative Iowa projects eligible for the grants. The RFA stems from an agreement reached in 2005 between the Iowa Attorney General's Office and Smithfield Foods, Murphy Farms and Prestage-Stoecker Farms. The agreement, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, provides that Smithfield Foods will pay $100,000 per year for 10 years to fund grants to Iowans for projects benefiting Iowa's pork industry.

The Attorney General's Office, in collaboration with Smithfield Foods, and two Democratic and two Republican legislators, will evaluate proposals submitted under the RFA and award $100,000 before the end of this year to projects that demonstrate financial need and will promote pork production in Iowa in an innovative manner. Proposals are due by Dec. 1, 2006.

"We are delighted to be working with Smithfield and legislators to select projects and distribute the first $100,000 installment of a $1,000,000 commitment by Smithfield to help Iowa pork producers become more efficient and profitable," says Miller. "This grant program is part of a landmark settlement under which Smithfield made substantial financial commitments to Iowa's pork industry and agreed to provide their contract producers with a 'contractor growers' bill of rights.'"

In addition to the $1,000,000 grant program, Smithfield agreed in the 2002 settlement to pay $1,000,000 to IowaStateUniversity for a 10-year environmental training program, and $240,000 over a four-year period to fund Smithfield-Luter Scholarships at ISU.

"Smithfield Foods is delighted to partner with Attorney General Miller to make funds available to Iowa hog producers," says Dennis H. Treacy, vice president, environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield. "We pledge to work with Iowans to ensure that the projects we fund sustain the environment and further the pork production industry in the state.”

The RFA encourages projects in the following areas to submit applications:

  • Environment. Projects that will address the environmental impact of swine production, including impact on air quality and water quality.
  • Profitability. Projects that will address the profitability of swine production, including projects that will lower the costs of swine production, address swine disease problems, increase efficiency in swine production, create new pork products, or create new markets for pork.
  • Contract Feeding. Projects that will address issues in contract feeding, including competition, fairness and efficiency.
  • Independent producers. Projects that will address the ability of independent pork producers to complete, including projects relating to market access, price transparency, niche marketing of pork, producer networking and financing.
  • Market Information. Projects that will address the issue of price discovery and availability of market information in the pork industry.

Proposals must be submitted to the Iowa Attorney General's office no later than Dec. 1, 2006. Grant application instructions, requirements and forms can be found at www.iowaattorneygeneral.org, by e-mailing the Farm Division of the Attorney General's office at FARM@ag.state.ia.us, or by calling the Farm Division at 515-281-5351.

[Click here for a copy of the RAF (Request for Applications) and appendices forms.]

Source: Iowa Attorney General news release