The American Feed Industry Association released the results of its annual "Community Involvement and Charitable Giving Survey" on Jan. 20, revealing the animal food industry's volunteer hours in 2016 to be significantly higher than 2015.
The informal poll, conducted at the close of each year, tallies community service hours and funds donated by participating companies. Results show more than 41,000 hours of community service donated by AFIA member companies' employees in 2016 – a 28 percent increase from 2015. Nearly $2.2 million was also 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," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman.
The term "sustainability" is defined by the feed industry 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 education-, civil service-, agriculture-, health- and collegiate grants/research-oriented charities as key causes to contribute both funds and volunteer time to, with 96 percent of respondents engaging in ways to better education programs, up 1 percent from 2015. Civil service charities also ranked high with respondents at an 88 percent contribution level, up a significant 18 percent from 2015. In total, there were 443 various charities donated to in 2016.
"This is the 6th consecutive year [according to Charity Navigator] charitable giving has increased. Funds donated by corporations alone are up nearly 4 percent." Newman said. "We are pleased to see AFIA members contributing to these worthy causes."
AFIA established a Sustainability Task Force in 2009, which identified four key sustainable focal points, designed for communication and collaboration between 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 understanding and appreciation of U.S. food production.
To learn more about sustainability in the feed industry, visit AFIA's website.