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story.lead_photo.caption A deal with animal feed additive giant Adisseo establishes an endowed professorship at the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture.

A French animal feed company Adisseo has agreed to work with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture to advance nutritional research in the poultry industry at a time when feed additives are out of vogue.

The agreement, signed Oct. 18, establishes an endowed professorship in the division's department of poultry science in Fayetteville and research collaboration between the entities.

"Adisseo is looking for research partners worldwide and it made sense, with the program here, that they would seek us out," said Jean Francois Meullenet, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

The deal was signed by Mark Cochran, vice president of agriculture for the university system's division of agriculture, and Stefan Jakob, a director of research at Adisseo, a maker of amino acids, vitamins and enzymes for commercial beef, pork and poultry.

The idea behind the deal is to "simplify the exchange between academic research and industry application," Jakob said in a statement Wednesday.

Meullenet said Adisseo is donating $1 million to fund the endowed professorship.

Endowed professorships are positions paid for with revenue from an endowment fund established by donors. They signal university research accomplishments to the public and allow "a little more flexibility" for researchers to seek the ideas they want to pursue, Meullenet said.

At the student-level, Meullenet said these partnerships give students the opportunity to interact with industries firsthand and may open the door to internships.

"We are hopeful this will allow all the faculty in poultry science opportunities for sponsored research," he said. "You know, they always have a lot of ideas ... so this gives them the opportunity for at least contacts with the company worldwide."

Adisseo, one of the three largest feed additive manufacturers in the world, was founded in 1939. It is a subsidiary of China National Blue Star Co. Ltd., a chemical company that deals in animal feed, chemicals and other products.

Mike Kidd, head of the poultry science department, said in a statement that the endowed professorship and collaborative research will focus primarily on poultry nutrition.

"The number one issue is feed conversion," Meullenet said, or the ratio between weight gained and feed given. "The magnitude of the industry and the small gains in feed efficiency have a tremendous impact."

For decades additives, including antibiotics, have been integral to the world's food supply, according to federal agencies. However, after reports a few years ago from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the prevalence of antibiotic misuse, agriculture producers and buyers made commitments to curb the use of antibiotics in their supply chains.

In response to industry and consumer concerns of heavy antibiotic use in the world's food supply, animal feed manufacturers and food giants, like Tyson Foods, have been using antibiotic alternatives.

In April, Cargill donated $150,000 to the system's division of agriculture in Fayetteville for work to reduce antibiotic use in agriculture. Before that John Tyson, heir and chairman of Tyson Foods, donated a total of $6 million between 2015 and 2017 to the UA System Division of Agriculture's research facility named after his father.

Business on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Feed firm, UA division enter deal

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