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AFIA meeting hits hot issues, honors members

Three-day event offered approximately 650 attendees valuable discussions on what’s happening in animal food industry.

The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) held its annual Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference (PISC) recently in Orlando, Fla. The three-day event offered approximately 650 attendees valuable discussions on what’s happening in the animal food industry and networking opportunities between feed ingredient buyers and sellers.

“PISC attendees had the opportunity to hear from experts on many hot-button issues in the animal food industry, such as sustainability and African swine fever,” said Veronica Rovelli, AFIA senior director of meetings and events. “Not only did they get an update on current issues, but our members had the opportunity to foster and deepen relationships with their suppliers and clients.”

This year’s educational program featured several experts who spoke on such topics as: a keynote about “the battle to do good” by incorporating sustainability practices into corporate programs; an update on current African swine fever research; the future of the agriculture industry and its impacts; an outlook on the political landscape, and discussions on the economics and trade environment for the U.S. feed industry.

Discussing incorporating sustainability into a business, speaker Bob Langert said businesses should not underestimate how important it is for overall brand health.

“People care about the issues of sustainability. It is important for them to know where their food comes from, what’s in it and how it’s processed,” said Langert, president of Mainstream Sustainability and retired vice president of sustainability from McDonald’s Corp. “I can’t over-emphasize that of all 42 key metrics on brand health that McDonald’s had, the one having to do with how good I feel about the food I’m eating at McDonald’s was probably the most important.”

Founded in 1909, AFIA is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal food industry and its suppliers.

Also during PISC, Bill Barr, president of Bill Barr & Co., was recognized with the group’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award for his lifelong contributions to the feed industry. The award is AFIA’s highest honor and is typically given to elite members of the U.S. animal food industry who have provided outstanding support to AFIA and the entire animal food industry throughout their careers.

T.J. Biggs, director of technical services and quality assurance at Global Animal Products, was named AFIA Member of the Year -- an award presented to an AFIA member who exhibits outstanding support in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives throughout the year.

For this fiscal year, the AFIA board officially elected Tim Belstra, chairman of Belstra Milling Co., as its new chairman. His one-year term is effective through the end of AFIA’s fiscal year on April 30, 2020.

The board voted to accept the nomination of Scott Druker of Church & Dwight Co. to become chair-elect of the organization. Druker will succeed Belstra in May 2020.

The board also elected the following individuals to serve three-year terms, which began during the meeting: Jeff Ast, Lallemand Animal Nutrition; Mike Gauss, Kent Nutrition Group Inc.; Dr. Carlos Gonzalez, Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Alan Gunderson, Vita Plus Corp.; Dr. Kevin Halpin, International Ingredient Corp.; Camissa Hummel, ADM Animal Nutrition Inc; Steve Lerner, Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition; Andrew Loder, Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition LLC; Joe Lucas, CJ America Inc.; Eric McMillan, Cactus Feeders; Landis Shoemaker, Sunnyside Feeds LLC; Michael Skuodas, POET Nutrition; Dean Warras, Phibro Animal Health Corp.; Glen Wilkinson, Huvepharma Inc.; Jonathan Wheat, 4B Components Ltd., and Mindy Whittle, Bayer U.S. Crop Science.

The board approved seven nominated individuals as additions to AFIA’s executive committee: Mitch Anderson of PerforMix Nutritional Systems LLC; Kevin Baker of Valley Proteins Inc.; Holly Bellmund of GLC Minerals LLC; Scott Druker of Church & Dwight Co. Inc.; Sherman Miller of Cal-Maine Foods Inc.; Lisa Norton of BioZyme Inc., and Jason Vickers of Mars Petcare US.

In addition, the board accepted the nominations of nine individuals to the IFEEDER Board of Trustees: Dr. Cathy Bandyk of AB Vista Inc.; Tim Belstra of Belstra Milling Co.; Mike Goble of Diamond V; Marc de Beer of Elanco Animal Health; Ed Galo of Novus International Inc.; Mark Lueking of Cargill Animal Nutrition; Dr. C. Ross Hamilton of Darling Ingredients Inc.; A. Wayne Rod of The F.L. Emmert Co., and Dr. Chad Risley of Berg+Schmidt America LLC.

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