Our members strive every day for excellence in researching and developing new ingredients for use in feed and pet food. It is our responsibility to bring products to the market that are safe for the intended species and perform as promised. So why should our expectations from our government when it comes to their job of reviewing the safety and efficacy of those new animal food ingredients be any different?
If someone told me when I was attending the January 2020 International Production & Processing Expo that I wouldn’t be attending another agricultural tradeshow until June 2021, I would have laughed. I’ve been attending various agricultural events for many, many years.
The issue of sustainability is constantly evolving and fast moving, and the American Feed Industry Association’s organizational response and approach has been changing with it!
Being somewhat of a data and details geek, one of the more enjoyable parts of my responsibilities at the American Feed Industry Association is monitoring and evaluating Food Safety Modernization Act inspections in the animal food industry. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to periodically meet with the Food and Drug Administration staff to discuss the agency’s inspections goals and objectives.
With the kick-off of the American Feed Industry Association’s new fiscal year comes new priorities within the legislative and regulatory areas as set by the association’s Board of Directors. These priorities set the course for our work advocating on behalf of the membership at the state, federal and international levels. Here is a brief overview of the categories we will focus on this year.
We have all seen the headlines and had the conversations at our children’s sports games, the county fair or church regarding agriculture and saving the planet.
“Sarah, you work in agriculture, right? I was thinking about eating less meat to save the planet – what do you think?”
Feed production is a significant contributor to animal protein’s carbon footprint, and retailer and
consumer pressures place greater demands on suppliers to explain where products come from
and how they are produced. In the 2021 Food and Health Survey, 42% of consumers believed
individual food and beverage choices have a moderate or significant impact on the
environment and 53% said it would have a greater influence on decision making if the impact
was easier to understand.
“Air pollution from farms leads to 17,900 deaths per year, study finds.” It’s a catchy newspaper title reminiscent of a study from 2019 noting, “Corn pollution kills thousands of Americans a year, study finds.” These headlines surely grab your attention, but they don’t necessarily advance your understanding of the industry. Studies of this nature require models, models require a lot of assumptions, and model output and findings are only as good as the input.
The American Feed Industry Association has expanded efforts into Vietnam - this has been many years in the making! Through the support of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Market Access Program funds, we are now implementing market access and development programs for the U.S. animal food industry in the country. Our work in Vietnam focuses on improving the competitiveness of U.S. animal food products by educating and demonstrating the variety, efficacy, quality, viability, safety and sustainability of U.S. feed products.
It is an honor to begin my new role as chair of the American Feed Industry Association Board of Directors. The opportunity to serve in this position is both exciting and humbling.
Although I was raised in northern Indiana, my early years did not provide me with an awareness of the feed industry. Driving through soybean fields, eating sweet corn from roadside stands and the yearly visit to the “you-pick” strawberry patch was the limit of my exposure to the agricultural industry. My introduction ended up being through a random conversation leading to an entry-level job opportunity with a local agricultural equipment manufacturer, Laidig Systems, Inc. in Mishawaka, Ind. Over 40 years later, it is difficult to imagine serving a more rewarding industry.