After nearly five years in the feed industry, I have observed the incredible dedication and generosity of its stakeholders time and time again. Therefore, I decided to dedicate this column to giving recognition and thanks for this openhandedness.

According to the American Feed Industry Association's (AFIA) 2013 "Sustainability Initiative Survey," the U.S. feed industry logged 46,500 hours of community service and donated nearly $3 million to local charities last year. In addition to contributions to local services -- such as food banks, agriculture-focused programs, police and fire departments -- the bulk of donations went to education programs and institutions.

In late 2013, AFIA's Equipment Manufactures Committee (EMC) presented the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), a nonprofit organization formed to support the future of the feed industry, a check for $78,000 to support its scholarship efforts. The mission of the organization, of course, is to "pave the way" for future generations to meet the challenges ahead by aiding in the development of the necessary resources and personnel.

Equipment manufacturers, in particular, have been especially supportive of the next generation of feed miller. In recent years, there have been many examples of this dedication to bringing students up to speed on the latest technologies and best manufacturing practices. Beginning in 2007 with contributions to California Polytechnic State University's then-new Animal Nutrition Center, suppliers have more recently made significant equipment donations to Auburn University's Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center ($750,000 in 2012) and Kansas State University's O. H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center, which received nearly $3 million in equipment donations. And this is just to name a few. There are no doubt many other examples of this type of philanthropy which have flown under the radar.

This month's cover story, "Feed technology center receives world-class upgrades," stands as a testament to the most recent display of feed industry generosity and its commitment to furthering its position as an international leader in feed and grain technology. Located on the North Dakota State University campus, the Northern Crops Institute's nearly 25-year-old feed mill was in need of a serious set of upgrades. The mill is used not only to educate students, but to host the many international visitors who hope to optimize their use of U.S. grains using modern feed technologies.

Hope you enjoy this profile. Keep on giving!