Safety, training key at ADM’s Cordele facility

ADM Animal Nutrition’s feed manufacturing facility in Cordele, Ga., is the winner of the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year Commercial Dry Feed Category.

Safety is a top priority at ADM Animal Nutrition's feed manufacturing facility in Cordele, Ga. The plant is the winner of the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year Commercial Dry Feed Category.

The Feed Facility of the Year program is a national contest conducted annually by the American Feed Industry Assn. and Feedstuffs. Facilities across the nation are judged on the basis of efficiency, quality, safety and various other production standards.

The Cordele plant, managed by Johnny Childers, manufactures some 40,000 tons of feed annually, largely for equines and beef cattle but also for poultry, swine, dairy cattle, deer, game birds, rabbits and more.

The facility, built in 1982, has a total of 16 production employees and two maintenance employees. Childers has been managing the Cordele facility for four years but has worked at the facility for 18-plus years, starting as a maintenance helper when he was in high school and moving up through the ranks over the years.

Each morning, and at each shift change, a “toolbox meeting” is held in the control room, where employees are reminded of the importance of good safety and are told of equipment issues to watch for. In the past year, a total of 24 safety training sessions and 260 daily safety toolbox meetings were held.

Childers and his management team use a values-based safety program. As part of that program, employees observe each other for two to five minutes twice a month to make sure procedures are understood and performed properly.

“It is more of a looking out for your fellow employee kind of program rather than one aimed at finding fault,” Childers said.

ADM also has a global safety week once a year that the facility participates in.

Quality prioritized

All ingredients are weighed in upon arrival, and all trucks must provide details on the previous load hauled. If that load contained a prohibited ingredient, a commercial washout ticket must also be presented. All corn is trucked into the facility and tested for mycotoxins — aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol — before being unloaded.

“Cheap in, cheap out. We'll (risk running) out of an ingredient before we will settle for bad quality,” Childers said. Sampling is done on all incoming ingredients, and samples are kept for three months.

The Cordele facility utilizes W.E.M. 4,000 automated receiving and batching systems. The facility has 33 major ingredient bins that range in capacity from 2,500 to 5,000 cu. ft. per bin. Total storage capacity is 112,500 cu. ft.

The major ingredient scale in the facility has a 10,000 lb. capacity, and the minor ingredient scale has a 1,000 lb. capacity. A shared drive containing ingredient numbers shows team members what testing needs to be done.

The facility contains a four-ton Sprout double-ribbon mixer and a 300 hp Sprout pellet mill that feeds a double-pass horizontal Sprout cooler/double stand CPM crumble rolls. The mill produces four pellet sizes: 1/8 in. minim pellet, 3/16 in. pellet, 5/16 in. pellet and 3/4 in. cube.

Forty-ton finished product storage is located over the dry packing line and the wet (texturized) packing line. Both lines are equipped with Johnson auto bag hangers, Childers said, and both also convey to a Columbia Okura robot for stacking finished product. Storage in the loadout area includes 16 bulk finished product bins of 40 tons each.

The 50,000 sq. ft. warehouse area at the facility is used for finished storage. Feed is sold in bulk and in 50 lb. bags. Childers said dealers are offered a full pallet discount. Ten percent of the feed manufactured in the Cordele facility is toll milled.

The facility uses a combination of company-owned trucks, a contract fleet and customer pickup. The delivery area for the plant is basically six states: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and North and South Carolina.

History of innovation

An unwavering dedication to quality and innovation has made ADM Animal Nutrition a leading provider of nutritional supplements and feeds for livestock and specialty animals. As a company, ADM has been in the feed industry for more than a century, with roots tracing back to the late 1800s. The Cordele facility is one of more than 30 in ADM's feed business.

In the early 1990s, ADM built the largest lysine plant in the world to supply essential amino acids to the animal feed industry.

By the late 1990s, ADM had purchased MoorMan's — a family-run business established in 1885 that focused on high-quality, researched-based products for the animal feed industry. This acquisition was followed by the purchase of Consolidated Nutrition, which included SuperSweet, Master Mix and Tindle Feeds brands.

ADM Animal Nutrition is based in Decatur, Ill.

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