ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) announced on Dec. 26 that the U.S. feed industry donated $6 million toward local community efforts in 2011-12. These figures were garnered from a survey recently conducted by the AFIA where members were asked about of sustainable efforts supporting the community, the sixth of six focal points comprising AFIA’s Sustainability Initiative:

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. Production efficiency and productivity;
5. Embrace innovation; and
6. Support the community.

The survey was sent to AFIA members last October, in an attempt to quantify industry efforts in various areas of sustainability. For the feed industry, “sustainability” is defined as: 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.

“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 pets, but also in supporting local communities and pulling together in times when the country is in need,” said Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and chief executive officer.

Not only did the feed industry give generously in monetary donations, the industry was also physically active, volunteering 23,700 man hours toward various causes. According to survey results, AFIA members most frequently invest in community development activities for or charitable giving toward education (schools, scholarships and research grants), FFH/4H, health related organizations, local fire/police precincts and environmental clean-up projects.

Donations and volunteer hours toward hunger and disaster relief organizations/efforts (American Red Cross, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and Haiti, Missouri and Sandy natural disaster relief efforts) also ranked highly, as did volunteering, fundraising and cash donations supporting these initiatives.

AFIA established the Sustainability Task Force in 2009 under former Board Chair Brian Rittgers. The Task Force identified six key sustainable focal points, designed for communication and collaboration between organizations, companies or associations.

In 2013, AFIA will highlight feed industry activities in the areas of the five other sustainable focal points.