The Tennessee Farmers Cooperative of Rockford, Tenn., was named the 2013 Feed Mill of the Year. The annual award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations and is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and “Feedstuffs.”
TFC’s feed mill is third-party certified in hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) as well as AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food (SF/SF) Certification Program. TFC employs 38 people who help to manufacture 120,000 tons of feed annually—65 percent in bulk production and 35 percent in bagged feed. The feed is supplied to stores and dealers throughout Tennessee and bordering states. The company was established in 1945 and currently has 57 member co-ops.
Rule said TFC operates on four basic fundamentals: use all your resources; develop a team philosophy; hold everyone to a professional conduct; and, most importantly, have an open line of communication.
The facility has 16 team members, including 10 production assistants, and is managed by Thad Olson. It produces 40,000 tons of feed annually, 74 percent of which is delivered to customers and 26 percent is bagged. Olson said the recognition is a “great honor.”
"It was an honor originally just to be in the top three," Olson stated. "It is a great morale booster for the guys, and it will help them strive to work harder for next year."
To ensure food and feed safety, Hubbard Feeds is HACCP and SF/SF certified, ISO 9001 and U.S. Food and Drug Administration registered, and has established a comprehensive written biosecurity program. The facility also offers an employee-run safety committee designed to train workers in safety techniques for both on and off the job.
“The winner and runner-up of the Feed Mill of the Year Award were two of the many qualified applicants that were considered this year,” said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training. “Our judges evaluated submissions on increased safety, quality, regulatory compliance, operating efficiencies and overall industry awareness of food safety among other things, and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (Rockford) and Hubbard Feeds (Rapid City) proved they produce safe, consistent and quality products.”
“Please join us in offering them a round of applause for their continuous hard work,” added Epperson.
Selection of the top plant starts with an online application process and concludes with personal visits to the top sites by an inspection team from AFIA and “Feedstuffs.” Final selection is based on a combined scoring of the application and personal visit.
The 2014 Feed Mill of the Year program will be open for applications this spring. For more information on Feed Mill of the Year program, contact Keith Epperson, vice president of manufacturing and training, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 558-3568.