Steve Kopperud died Oct. 19 of a sudden and highly unexpected arrhythmia while in Minneapolis, Minn., for a family wedding.
Kopperud served the feed industry for 35 years. He was senior vice president of legislative affairs at the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) for more than 20 years and a government affairs consultant for almost 15 years before officially retiring in 2017. In what is perhaps his longest-lasting legacy, he founded the Animal Industry Foundation, now the Animal Agriculture Alliance, in the 1980s as a forum for producer and industry organizations to counter the rising public relations and legislative challenges of anti-meat activists.
Leah Wilkinson, AFIA vice president of public policy and education, said, “Steve loved the association and its members and was proud to represent them in [Washington] D.C. for so many years, having accomplished many policy goals for the industry. His knowledge, leadership and mentorship will be missed by all of the AFIA staff, his many, many connections around town and throughout the feed industry.”
Prior to joining AFIA, Kopperud was a reporter with the Minneapolis Star and the San Diego (Cal.) Tribune. He was also the former Washington bureau chief for The Miller Publishing Co. / American Broadcasting Corp. publishing division, where he wrote for Feedstuffs.
“Steve’s knack for storytelling would only be outdone by his talent as a journalist, demonstrated in his biweekly, eight-page Washington Update articles for FeedGram,” Wilkinson added. “His passion for all things politics, policy and agriculture were second to none.”
During his retirement, Kopperud had been working to create a scholarship at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism that is expected to become final by the end of the year and will be the primary designated memorial. Any memorial gathering will be delayed until the end of pandemic restrictions, and more information will be shared as it becomes available.