Written by: Sarah Novak | June 15, 2021
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.
Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Des Moines, Iowa, for World Pork Expo. It was nice to see so many industry friends that I haven’t seen for a very long time, but more importantly, it was great to visit the companies exhibiting and see what new products and services they have to offer for today’s swine farmer.
I had several conversations with American Feed Industry Association members, ranging from new products and services to what they are doing in the area of sustainability. One conversation I had with an equipment manufacturer stuck with me. Their feed truck can track down to the bin which product is being loaded and if it’s not the correct bin, it won’t unload! During these past 18 months, despite the hardships endured, companies have continued to innovate and look for solutions for today’s farmers and ranchers to raise their livestock and poultry with less inputs.
While I was attending World Pork Expo, I was asked to give a presentation about how the feed industry can be a part of a farmer’s story on sustainability (thank you IFF/Danisco for the opportunity). As I was preparing, I thought, farmers and ranchers have been “doing sustainability” since the beginning – what do I have to talk to them about?!
I sat through several of the presentations and learned how feed companies are using more precise nutrition (for example, through the use of enzymes and amino acids) to reduce the needs for crops and how the use of by-products has helped with not only feed costs, but overall sustainability.
The best presentation I heard was from a swine operation that owns feed mills, row crops and pigs. They talked about how manure from the pigs is used to fertilize the corn, the corn is grown and harvested to make the feed, the feed is fed to the pigs and then you are back to the fertilize-part! He really saw this as a great sustainability story and he was right. In addition, he talked about some ideas they are implementing, from solar panels to set-aside land for monarch butterflies. It was good to hear what farmer and ranchers are doing and how the feed industry can help.
I’m looking forward to seeing more industry friends and colleagues and learning even more at the AFIA’s upcoming Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference, Liquid Feed Symposium, Equipment Manufacturer’s Conference and our major tradeshow, International Production & Processing Expo.