Wild Bird Feeding Industry
Members Evolution of Industry Standards
WBFI Quality Standards Program Development History

Overall Objective of WBFI Quality Standards Program:
To help consumers have a good experience so they continue to feed wild birds.

Development History:
WBFI Standards are one part of an overall program to gain the confidence of the consumer as the WBFI works to facilitate increased participation in the 2nd largest hobby in the US.

In 1994, WBFI adopted its own Arbitration Rules and Guidelines, which are patterned after the National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA). These WBFI arbitration procedures have been available to WBFI Members since that time. The goal is to provide a basis for covering contract disputes, not to set trade rules. The WBFI Arbitration Rules and Guidelines are available at this link.

At the Spring 2001 Board of Directors meeting, the WBFI Board of Directors and guests discussed the need for industry standards for seed products and for feeder products. A committee of volunteers from the Board and the WBFI membership agreed to pursue standards development, with an initial target date for completion of 5 to 7 years.

To help WBFI move forward, Standards Development Consultant Dr. Ron Pardee attended WBFI Annual Member Meetings in 2001 and 2002 and led the membership through some exercises in concept development. Ron has been available in the background, assisting when needed, ever since.

The identification of the individual seeds that are components of seed mix products has resulted in a comprehensive list of seed definitions. As this list has been defined, WBFI has paid close attention to and followed the AAFCO standards when available. The WBFI Standards Committee is currently co-chaired by Karen Burns, ETO Sterilization, and Dave Netten, All Seasons Wild Bird Store. Also serving on the Committee are representatives from other WBFI membership categories, including packagers, feeder/accessories, retailers and distributors.

Step 1: Defining the seeds used in bird feeding
Following the 2004 WBFI Annual Meeting, the proposed seed definitions were made available to the industry on the WBFI web site. Until February 1, 2005, the industry had the opportunity to view the definitions of approximately 40 individual seeds used in bird feeding. At the Standards Committee meeting on February 14, 2005 the Committee members reviewed the comments and revised definitions as necessary based on the comment received. Definitions, including some revisions, were recommended to the WBFI Board of Directors for adoption on February 15, 2005. The WBFI Board of Directors voted to adopt the seed definitions. Click here to review the PowerPoint file containing the WBFI Quality Standards Program seed definitions

Step 2: Defining the seed products used in bird feeding
As the Standards Committee identified and defined the seeds, the members discussed how to define the mixes available to consumers. How could words like premium be defined? There were numerous mixes on the market identified as premium mixes, yet none were exactly alike. The end result of these discussions over a period of several years was the adoption of the position that a mix is eligible for the WBFI Quality Standards Program enrollment and logo usage if every seed used in the mix meets the WBFI Quality Standard definition. Here are the labeling guidelines for seed products, whether single seeds or mixes.

Standards for Bird Feeders:
Feeder Standards were the first to be developed. At the 2003 WBFI Annual Meeting, Mike Dunn presented the committee’s recommendation to the membership. The membership voted unanimously to ratify the feeder standards. As Standards Development Consultant Ron Pardee told us would happen, the Board of Directors asked the Committee to develop more detailed guidelines in November 2004. Feeder Standards Committee (Mike Dunn, Duncraft, Chairman) worked with his committee to meet the Board’s directive. The list of proposed feeder standards was reviewed and further refined by the WBFI Board of Directors at their Spring 2005 Board meeting. Subsequent to the Spring 2005 Board meeting, the Feeder Standards Workgroup met in Chicago in April 2005 as detailed above.

The missing piece to the implementation of this set of standards was a logo to be used on all products meeting the WBFI industry standards. The WBFI Standards Logo was adopted by the Board of Directors on November 4, 2004, at their meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The WBFI Standards Logo was presented to the membership at the WBFI Annual Member Meeting on Saturday, November 6, 2004.

On April 12, 2005, a group of industry members and WBFI members met in Chicago. As a result of this meeting, the following set of 6 points was identified as the proposed WBFI Standards for bird feeders. After a comment period, these Standards were reviewed by the WBFI Standards Committee and revised as necessary in November 2005 and then proposed from the Standards Committee to the WBFI Board of Directors during their meeting on November 2, 2005. The WBFI Board of Directors voted to adopt the feeder standards without further revision. These standards (shown to the left) were presented to the industry at the WBFI Annual Member Meeting on Saturday, November 5, 2005.