Written by: Louise Calderwood | May 26, 2022
As some of you know, I have a rating system for airport bathrooms based on stall size, placement of hooks and shelves, accessibility to soap, hand drying features, cleanliness and décor. During a recent 11-day trip combining vacation time with attendance at the Oregon Feed and Grain Association meeting, Pet Food Forum and Pet Food Alliance, I had a chance to refine my rating system and I realized that airport bathrooms have a lot in common with dairy free stalls. Both are designed for efficiency, comfort and cleanliness, and some work better than others.
On the first leg of this trip I started in Burlington, Vermont and traveled through Ronald Reagan National Airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and on to Reno-Tahoe International Airport for a few days of vacation in northern California. The scenery in northern California was extraordinary and it was the first time I had seen flood irrigation used in high desert pastures. The new terminal at Reagan gets high marks for multiple hooks and a usable shelf.
It was on this section of the trip that I first encountered two new sink designs. One design uses a single trough and multiple faucets. It is efficient, but one clogged drain and the entire sink is flooded. The other new design featured a pair of sinks separated by dividers – a nice touch! I wonder if airport bathroom designers are aware of animal welfare research confirming cows enjoy isolated loafing area, because I sure saw the similarity.
From Reno I flew up to Oregon to speak at the Oregon Feed and Grain Association meeting. The association thanked Marvin Kropf for his years of service and welcomed Brian Wilkerson on board as the new executive secretary. Brian brings years of feed mill management experience to the position and has ideas for increasing OFGA’s engagement in Oregon legislative and regulatory issues. The Portland airport ranked highest on the trip for décor (pictured below) and an efficient sink layout. But why build airport stalls with a non-functional shelf inset into the wall behind the toilet? The purpose of that design feature had me stumped.
From Oregon I headed back east through Salt Lake City to Kansas City to attend the Pet Food Forum and Pet Food Alliance. The forum provided its customary outstanding line up of educational tracks, Tech Talks and student presentations. Roaming the trade show floor gave me a chance to meet with many of our members. My highlight of the forum was the presentation by Chris Berg from the Iowa Department of Agriculture on behalf of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee. Chris explained the proposed changes to the nutritional adequacy statement on pet food labels and it appears industry’s concerns for consumer understanding were heard by AAFCO. Chris shared that AAFCO is considering simple nutritional statements on the bottom third of the front of pet food packages. It has been a multi-year conversation between AAFCO and the pet food industry, but the effort has paid off in development of proposed pet food label modernizations.
On this leg of the trip, the Salt Lake City Airport scored very high with stalls nearly four feet wide. Wow!!! An 1,800-pound dry cow would be comfy in the Salt Lake City airport bathroom. Add in two hooks and a functional shelf and Salt Lake City was rocking the rating system!
I stayed on in Kansas City to attend the Pet Food Alliance meeting. The Alliance is a joint project facilitated between Colorado State University and the Fats and Protein Research Foundation to bring together members of the rendering, pet food, laboratory, academia and technology industries to collaborate and develop solutions for industry-wide challenges. I participated in the safety working group as we discussed truck washing procedures and consideration of the use of 16S metagenomics to determine the relative abundance of bacterial taxa in biofilm formation in processing environments.
Eleven days, eight planes, three events and plenty of new connections. This was a beneficial trip to increase my knowledge in service to AFIA members, maintain and expand my network of pet food industry contacts and of course, refine my airport rating system. Hands down, Salt Lake City was the winner in the “Calderwood free stall assessment” of airport travel. Now, if we could just explain to airplane designers the need for space to move without be jostled.