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Friend of Pet Food Award

Steve Thomas, formerly with Darling Ingredients, won the 2023 AFIA Friend of Pet Food Award.
Angele Thompson, Ph.D., 2024 Friend of Pet Food Winner

Launched in 2019, the American Feed Industry Association’s Friend of Pet Food Award recognizes individuals who have made recent significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry. The first award was presented at AFIA’s 2020 Pet Food Conference, in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo.

Nominations for the 2025 Friend of Pet Food award are due by Aug. 26, 2024.

AFIA is now accepting nominations for the 2025 Friend of Pet Food Award to be announced at the AFIA Pet Food Conference on Tuesday, January 28, 2025 at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga. To nominate an individual, complete the nomination form and email it to Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs.

  • Who is eligible for this award?
    A nominee is typically currently employed and active in the pet food industry or an associated area, such as new product development, transportation, regulatory, academia, media or promotion. Typical jobs might include, but are not limited to: educators, researchers, publishers, inventors, allied industry leaders, or others who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the pet food industry. There is no restriction by company or industry affiliation or the function performed by the nominee.
  • What is the nomination process?
    AFIA’s Pet Food Award Selection Committee (which consists of the current AFIA Pet Food Committee chair, chair-elect and past chair); the AFIA president; AFIA Board chair; and one more AFIA Pet Food Committee member will review and decide on the top three finalists. The AFIA Pet Food Committee will then vote on the three finalists via a secret ballot to decide the winner.
  • What will the award winner receive?
    The award winner will be invited to attend the AFIA Pet Food Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where he/she will be publicly recognized with a plaque. The awardee will also be recognized on AFIA’s website.


For questions, contact Louise Calderwood.