The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) hosted a new half-day educational program this week, in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo, providing animal agriculture business leaders with tips for managing volatile situations that impact their operations.
“From the constant threat of animal and human diseases, to supply chain interruptions, to dealing with the headwinds of changing trade policies, to volatile weather, today’s business leaders are managing a lot,” said Paul Davis, Ph.D., AFIA’s director of quality, animal food safety and education. “Working with AFIA’s Nutrition Committee, we delivered a unique program today that gave business leaders a chance to hear lessons learned over the past two years from industry peers so that they left equipped with ideas and strategies for improving their crisis management plans for the future.”
The “Business Continuity in Times of Disruption: Lessons Learned from the Feed Industry” program covered topics such as: managing government relations when local, state and federal restrictions and requirements change or conflict; navigating personnel and other workforce issues; developing transparent internal communications; and ensuring the timely delivery of safe, quality products. “We are more physically connected now than ever before,” said Yone Dewberry, chief supply chain officer at Land O’Lakes Inc.
“When we are that integrated, and one part of the chain breaks down, you get major, major shortages.” Dewberry provided the example that to make a single hot tub, 1,850 different parts must travel 887,776 miles from seven countries and 14 states. Dewberry encouraged attendees to consider the different ingredients, vitamins, parts, bags, etc., they are using to manufacture their products to better understand the complexity of their supply chains and develop contingency plans in case there are supply chain bottlenecks.
Wild regulatory rollercoaster ride
AFIA also hosted its annual Feed Education Program, covering what the animal food industry can expect from U.S. federal regulators in 2022 and the importance of developing written corporate pandemic policies.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard has been a wild rollercoaster ride,” said Gary Huddleston, AFIA’s director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs, on the confusion animal food companies have experienced recently in working to comply with federal workplace safety laws given the twists and turns between the U.S. courts and the Biden administration on levying the federal vaccine mandate on American businesses. “AFIA’s Feed Education Program is one way we are keeping our feed industry members abreast of this changing situation and other regulatory issues coming from U.S. regulatory agencies that could impact their businesses.”
The program discussed upcoming priorities for the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor and OSHA; the Food and Drug Administration’s animal food manufacturing facility inspection plans for 2022; upcoming educational opportunities from the AFIA; and why companies should have written corporate pandemic policies in place.
“A written infectious diseases preparedness plan has many benefits,” said John Dillard, principal at OFW Law. “A written and clearly communicated plan to address infectious diseases, including COVID-19, in the workplace reduces absenteeism and supply and delivery interruptions, gets you ready for any future outbreaks and helps you avoid enforcement and fines.”