Feed Bites

Our Foundation, Our Industry, Time to Get Involved

Written by: Guest   |   July 21, 2021

IFEEDER, Environmental footprint, Guest perspective

By: Tim Belstra, IFEEDER past Chair, part owner and chair of the board, Belstra Milling

At the Institute for Feed Education and Research, we’re actively working to launch the Sustainability Road Map project. Sustainability is something so embedded in agriculture, it almost seems unimportant to spend so much time and energy addressing the issue. I’ve been in agriculture all my life and have witnessed the huge strides made in all facets to produce more with less, while preserving our land and resources for the next generation. In the feed business, we all agree with the concept, but how do we show others we can back-up our sustainability claims?

For our industry to do this correctly, we need to tell our story correctly. Statements without data to back them up are merely opinions, not facts. At this point, we don’t have clearly defined metrics that fulfill the transparency desired within the supply chain or by consumers, nor do we have clarity on the messages our industry wants to convey.

Here’s where it gets deep.

We lack clarity on what transparency is desired by each sector of the animal food industry, we don’t have a set of common and standardized data points to collect, plus we don’t have consensus on our messages.

For example, co-products and by-products make up 40% of the animal feed and pet food ingredients – sounds good, but what does it truly mean?

  • What’s the greenhouse gas emission avoidance or reduction gained by using co-products for each feed formulation?
  • Is there reduced water or energy use during production when co-products and by-products are used?
  • How much do by-products and co-products reduce the carbon footprint of protein production within a livestock or poultry diet?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is no easy task, but one that surely impacts all of us going forward. To do this properly, ALL of us need to get involved. IFEEDER’s Sustainability Road Map will help each of our organizations develop a plan that is soundly backed by facts, not opinions. God quit making soil a long time ago and it’s time we told our story.

We’ll need financial help from many people to develop all this data that will benefit the whole animal food industry. Yes, that means I’m asking your company to help us! This is OUR foundation supporting OUR industry.

Here at Belstra, we’ve made our contribution, will you? Get involved!

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