Tuffy's Pet Foods announced last week it has made an investment in the pet food science program at the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University. The company has given a gift to create the Tuffy's Pet Foods Leadership Fund for Faculty and Program Development in Pet Food Science.
The gift amount, which was not provided, will go a long way in helping Kansas State University further its research work and educate future pet food science students, according to Dr. Greg Aldrich, pet food program coordinator at K-State.
"We are a one-of-a-kind pet food program," Aldrich said.
Aldrich said as pet food safety rules and regulations increase, Kansas State University seeks to continue to research best practices in the industry and share that knowledge with companies like Tuffy's. Aldrich also noted that he understands it can be difficult to find skilled young workers who can step into a role in the pet food industry. The relationship that has been formed between the university and Tuffy's has been beneficial for both, Aldrich said.
Aldrich said Tuffy's has recruited some students from the university, and two interns will be working at Tuffy's this summer.
While there are few options out there for students looking to get into the specialized field of pet food manufacturing and science, it's a $30 billion industry with 4 percent annual growth, Aldrich said.
The initial gift to the university was appreciated, Aldrich said, and he believes it is just the start of continued support the university will see from Tuffy's.
The gift supports faculty in the pet food program in the Department of Grain Science and Industry in the College of Agriculture. The gift also supports continued investment in research and program development in the area of pet food and nutrition science.
"This contribution to our program exemplifies the community focus and leadership that Tuffy's/KLN Family brands has to pets, pet parents and to the students that will be the future pet food industry employees and scientists advancing our knowledge regarding the ideal foods and nutrition in the future," said Aldrich in a news release.
"An in-depth understanding of pet food science and animal nutrition is central to Tuffy's Pet Foods' efforts to provide the very best in pet nutrition," according to Patrick Dolen, marketing coordinator for Tuffy's Pet Foods. "Through hard work, consistent effort and a willingness to share knowledge, Dr. Greg Aldrich and K-State have earned the respect of the pet food industry. By investing in programs and faculty that prepare students for successful careers, we are seeding the future with the scientific minds that will continue to drive innovation and safety while meeting the needs of pets and their owners."