Students create plan for natural feed additive

If you like curry or maple syrup, you probably like fenugreek.


The seed of this spice is used widely in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, and apparently the flavour turns nutty and maple-like when the seeds are roasted. Yum.


It is also the basis for an agricultural industry marketing plan developed by students at the University of Saskatchewan who are members of the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.


Every year, the CAMA student group develops a marketing plan and then takes its show on the road to the annual National Agri-Marketing Association meeting. There, they present their plan in competition with like-minded students from around the continent.


But before departing, they invite a group of academics and agricultural industry folks to do a little pre-judging.


This year, their plan is to take a product called Fenufeed, a fenugreek-based feed additive, to the market using print and online advertising, ag show attendance, testimonial videos and a distribution network. 


The advantage to Fenufeed is that it contains saponins, natural growth promotants that also decrease ammonia production. The strongest return is found in dairy cows and poultry, where it provides a five percent increase in milk production and a five percent increase in daily weight gain in poultry.


Fenugreek is not widely planted on the Prairies but can be cropped on contract to manufacturers of the feed additive.


The product is interesting and I thought the marketing plan was pretty good. I am impressed every year with the CAMA students: how hard they work on their project and how stoked they are to present it to a group of tough American agri-judges.


However, a couple of things stood out for me this year. These young people are reading the market with sensitivity and intelligence: the advantage-selling part of the plan focuses on the natural benefits of the feed additive and how it reduces the need for synthetic drugs. 


Taking that approach is hardly surprising, since the world is increasingly full of vocal consumers de-manding that food be as natural as possible. Young people are listening. 


Indeed, these students think that young farmers will listen to this kind of a pitch and sell it up the generational chain. They may be onto something.


I just hope my chicken won’t taste like maple syrup. I’ve been assured it won’t.