Building on Momentum; Safeguarding the Future
Dr. Alan Wessler, MFA, Inc. vice president
Monday, September 8, 2014
by: Dr. Alan Wessler, MFA, Inc. vice president

Section: Fall 2014

Chairman, American Feed Industry Association

Having a seat at the sustainability table is critical for those issues that will be important industry guiding lines. AFIA leadership is working to get us there.

I’m proud of this organization! Your industry organization, the American Feed Industry Association, led by President Joel G. Newman and recent chairman, Jeff Cannon (Diamond V), works hard to serve its membership companies like yours and mine. As the voice for the total feed industry, AFIA is making tremendous inroads, building on past members’ efforts and navigating the maze of the future. 
AFIA represents more than 575 feed manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, pet food manufacturers, livestock integrators and allied industry organizations. All aspects of the feed industry are represented by this diverse group of members. 
The organization’s objectives going forward focus on industry-critical regulatory and legislative areas, working to shape and help implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. AFIA has actively communicated industry concerns for the initial proposed rules—effectively crafted with the help of more than 80 AFIA member companies’ representatives. Talk about involvement! 
In addition to its comment submissions, AFIA also wants the industry to understand the impact FSMA will have. Recently, the organization held three sessions—open to the public—to discuss FSMA challenges as the industry works to ensure and enhance product safety. AFIA plans to host additional in-person FSMA-related meetings and webinars throughout 2015. 
AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program, now administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute and the sister Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program, play third-party verification roles, serving to protect AFIA members seeking to be in FSMA compliance.
AFIA works actively with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the Veterinary Feed Directive to require good communication and collaboration between producers, veterinarians and feed manufacturers, and continues resolution efforts with the agency on the Association of American Feed Control Officials ingredient approval process. AFIA’s close working relationships with several government agencies has often proved beneficial. 
The Institute for Feed Education & Research, IFEEDER, continues to strengthen and grow. This past summer IFEEDER donated $100,000 to the National Pork Board to conduct research on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus as well as plans to conduct research on Salmonella in feed in the near future. 
Strategic mission and planning is any organization’s lifeblood. AFIA’s Sustainability Oversight Committee, with Chair Mindy Whittle (Monsanto), continues to make strides to position our industry for the future in this key area. Having a seat at the sustainability table is critical for those issues that will be important industry guiding lines. AFIA leadership is working to get us there.
Your AFIA leadership team is composed of competent, credible individuals. They have the connections and capabilities to get the message across and get things done! The team continues to position your organization as an industry leader in domestic and global arenas through expansion, realizing the need for added expertise to keep up with a challenging, changing world. Being strong financially allowed AFIA the flexibility to secure excellent staff talent.
AFIA continues to provide insightful, impactful educational and networking events. I encourage you and your company to participate. An old saying notes, “You get out of life what you put into it.” Involvement in AFIA activities and events not only provides helpful insight to running your business and helping our industry, but also establishes relationships that can cover decades.
I am proud to belong to this member-driven organization that is always looking out for members’ interests. My goal is to help this organization continue to attract and retain top staff talent, to be fiscally responsible with members’ funds and to assist in operational efficiency and effectiveness. It is an honor and privilege to serve this organization. With your help, we will continue to build on the current momentum we have achieved, as we work to safeguard the future for our customers, our companies and our industry.
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