USA- The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a US$653,035 Seeding Solutions Grant to Sasya, Inc. to develop sustainable, cost-effective, multi-species feed supplements safe for livestock, the environment, and human consumption.
The FFAR builds public-private partnerships to fund research addressing significant food and agriculture challenges. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, advancing actionable science to benefit farmers, consumers, and the environment.
The FFAR grant is part of a total US$1.41 million investment, the rest of the fund coming from Launch Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, private equity financing, and Sasya.
Increasing consumer demand for animal protein prompts meat producers to increase productivity while maintaining profitability. It also inspires the growth of other players in the animal protein value chain, including the producers of feed supplements.
Feed supplements encourage faster growth, reduce disease and improve feed efficiency, making them essential in animal production.
Metabolites, such as amino acids and their derivatives, naturally occur in human and animal bodies; and when used as dietary supplements, can enhance performance and health in humans and animals.
While these metabolites are commercially available, many come from harmful chemicals that require extensive purification and energy-intensive processes.
Therefore, metabolite supplements remain prohibitively expensive despite their documented benefit.
“We understand the need for sustainably-produced supplements as alternatives to antibiotics and other environmentally unsafe animal feed supplements. Now is the time to invest in pioneering research that will allow the development of high-performance supplements to be economically available to producers,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, FFAR executive director.
With the grant from FFAR, Sasya will scale up the development of a novel sustainable process to mass produce high-performance supplements for the animal feed industry.
This research will primarily focus on swine as demonstrated success in the swine market paves the way for easier adoption in other animal species such as poultry, beef, and dairy cows.
While the cost of supplements is high in the current market, Sasya provides that producers can have sustainable operations without paying an exorbitant green premium.
“Responding to consumer demands for transparency in the supply chain, producers are looking for sustainability but are not willing to pay a green premium,” said Dr. Goutham Vemuri, CEO and founder of Sasya.
“We are keen to prove that sustainability doesn’t have to cost more. Our processes can meet the increasingly stringent sustainability metrics while allowing profitability across the supply chain.”
FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas.
Past research yielded interesting results- such as discovering why animals produce less milk in warmer areas, and, that bioengineering photosynthesis increases crop yields.
Sasya’s research, for example, furthers FFAR’s Advanced Animal Systems Challenge Area. This challenge area supports sustainable animal systems through innovative technologies, environmentally sound production practices, and advancements in animal health and welfare.