This week is a very important week. On Tuesday, the nation votes in the midterm election. On Friday, we give thanks to our nation’s veterans who served to protect the freedom and liberties we sometimes take for granted. (It is also my daughter’s birthday, so we will celebrate her and the joy she brings to our family.)
On Tuesday, the American Feed Industry Association’s Louise Calderwood participated in a listening session at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine on the regulation of animal foods with certain claims. This issue is one the AFIA has been following for quite some time (see related blog posts here and here), given its hindrance to getting products to the marketplace that would help the U.S. get one step closer to meeting its food security and climate goals.
Anyone with a lazy cat or dog will know what I’m talking about. You come home from work, tired after a long day, and your pet has been snoozing all day. “What a rough life,” you might say. Or, “Where’s the rent? Get a job!” All in good humor, of course. In fairness, a lot of animals have jobs and serve important purposes (although, they still may not cover the rent or treats).
As we previously reported, the American Feed Industry Association has been working to promote U.S. feed additives in the Chinese market. Over the past few months, with the use of funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program (MAP), the AFIA has been working with a communications/media firm in China to distribute informational articles on ag-media websites and social media platforms.
Remember the opening scene from the iconic television series, Star Trek? You know the one, where the Starship Enterprise glides by as the narrator exclaims that her intrepid crew will “boldly go where no man has gone before!” What the average viewer might not know is that the fictional craft USS Enterprise’s inaugural voyage started in 2245 and by the time her third pilot, the illustrious James T. Kirk, manned her helm in 2264, she had been engaged in interplanetary exploration for 19 years. Almost as long as the American Feed Industry Association has been urging the Food and Drug Administration to modernize its approach to the use of marketing claims for innovative animal food additives with proven efficacy and safety!
Talking with leaders in the animal food industry has always been one of the things I love about my job. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Bill Barr, president of Bill Barr & Company. He is also a past chair of American Feed Industry Association (2011-12), served on the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) Board of Trustees, and won AFIA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. He has also been very involved in the industry through many other organizations and a strong supporter of Kansas State University.
Walking around Rome last week while attending the 21st annual meeting of the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), I contemplated the complexity of the city and all the history laying there, beneath or above ground, and the effort it took to build and now maintain the city.
Our peers in animal agriculture, that is the farmers and ranchers who produce meat, milk and eggs every day for Americans to eat, must think holistically about the sustainability of their production systems. Beyond their downstream customers’ sustainability reporting desires, they are responsible to the communities surrounding their farms, regulatory agencies monitoring environmental impact and consuming public’s perceptions.
I always heard the members who attend Liquid Feed Symposium (LFS) are a great group of people – heck, I even remember Leanna Nail telling me about them during my orientation five years ago – and the collegiality and fun at this year’s conference was palpable.
All of food and agriculture, including the U.S. animal food industry, waited with bated breath this week to see if the rail companies and their labor unions would achieve a labor agreement before the Friday deadline. I’m sure we all breathed out a collective sigh of relief when we heard the good news that the parties reached a tentative agreement late last night. Now, we wait to see if the unions will ratify this agreement, which is anticipated.