Feed Bites

Gaining Insights: A First-Timer's Perspective at IPPE

Written by: AFIA Editor   |   February 21, 2024

IPPE, Vietnam, Education

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) welcomed three new employees in the past six months: Taylor Lekin, Ivy Torres, and Madison Wyman. This past January, all three attended the International Production & Processing Expor in Atlanta, Ga., for the first time. Below, they share their experiences attending their first ever IPPE.  

What were you most looking forward to heading into IPPE?  

Lekin: Echoing Madison, I have only heard wonderful things about AFIA members, and I was extremely excited to meet them and learn more about their role in the feed industry and involvement with AFIA. It was no surprise that each conversation with AFIA members or other IPPE attendees left me inspired and enthusiastic about working for AFIA.  

Ivy Torres with the delegation from Vietnam

Torres: I was traveling with a delegation from Vietnam, so I was most excited to get to introduce them to our membership. I was fortunate enough to have met a few of our members before and this was a great opportunity to begin developing these relationships with the delegation and have them first-hand discuss their companies and products. 

Wyman: I was most looking forward to having the opportunity to meet AFIA’s members. IPPE was the first time I traveled with AFIA, and I had only ever heard amazing things about the members, so I was most looking forward to experiencing that. I was not disappointed, the members I had the privilege to interact with were welcoming and excited to know I was a new addition to the AFIA team.  

Did anything surprise you about the week? 

Lekin: While I have attended many agricultural trade shows and heard many things about IPPE from friends who have participated in the College Student Career Program, I was not prepared for what I would experience walking into the Georgia World Congress Center for the first time. I was in awe watching the entire event come together throughout the week, from the trade show floor to the educational programs and everything in between. I also surprised myself with how excited I was for what each new day at IPPE would bring, despite the long days and many hours on my feet. 

Torres: For a first timer at a trade show, the sheer size of the show was surprising. But I was most impressed by the diversity in events and talks. There were so many different topics covered, all of which are crucial to where our industry currently is and what the future looks like for us. 

Wyman: As Ivy noted, one aspect of the event that truly took me by surprise was the sheer magnitude of the trade show floors! Having never attended a trade show before, specifically one in the agriculture sector, I was unprepared for the scale of the exhibition. Walking onto the show floors, I was immediately in awe of the booths and displays. Moreover, the opportunity to interact with AFIA's members added an extra layer of appreciation for the event. Meeting individuals who are deeply involved in the industry provided valuable insights into the impact and significance of events like IPPE.  

What program did you enjoy the most? Any takeaways you can share from that program? 

Lekin: The “Feed Your ESG: How Feed Will Help Hit Sustainability Targets” program was such an insightful program. It painted sustainability in the animal feed industry as a journey and covered a range of topics that created a more holistic view of where we are now and where this journey can take us as an industry. A key takeaway is that sustainability provides a lot of opportunities for the animal feed industry. By embracing sustainability, industry stakeholders can drive innovation, create long-term value and contribute to the betterment of the environment, their communities and our industry for a strong future.  

Torres: I had the opportunity to stop in at the Pet Food Conference for the first half of the day and I was so impressed by the presentations. The agenda spoke to some of the most pointed issues the pet food industry is facing, specifically sustainable ingredients and packaging. In addition, it updated attendees about some important research coming out of universities across North America. Sustainability is a growing issue for our industry and providing insightful discussions and ideas about the topic is important as companies are adapting to the changing times. 

Wyman: I had the opportunity to attend the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit where I heard Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis, deliver a keynote address, highlighting the role of livestock in climate solutions, emphasizing methane reduction as vital to agriculture's sustainability efforts. I very much enjoyed his presentation as he came prepared with science to explain the impacts of his research and stressed the importance of managing methane in the global climate solution. Additionally, I enjoyed hearing from industry representatives from the meat, poultry and egg, feed and pork sectors as they shared updates on their industry sustainability programs, stressing the importance of collaboration and effective communication to achieving their sustainability goals. 

What was your most memorable moment?  

Lekin: My first trip with AFIA and my first IPPE was such a memorable experience that I am not sure I can pick just one! I truly cherished the opportunities IPPE provided to learn from industry experts, connect with the AFIA staff and members, and share content about the event. 

Torres: Mine was really a set of moments. I really enjoyed taking the Vietnamese delegation to meet our members. One of my favorite aspects of my job is getting to meet with our membership and

Taylor Lekin and Madison Wyman at the Feed & Grain Reception

create these connections. I got to introduce the delegation to about 10 of our members, which led to great conversations about future business collaborations. 

Wyman: My most memorable moment was having the opportunity to attend the Feed and Grain reception with my AFIA colleagues. Taylor and I had the opportunity to help with the Equipment Manufacturers Committee’s (EMC) scholarship raffle and it was exciting to see how dedicated all the attendees were to support next generation leaders through such an amazing scholarship fund. The members of EMC were engaging and grateful for the help and support they received that evening.  

What are you most looking forward to next year at IPPE?  

Lekin: I was busy covering AFIA’s educational sessions at IPPE this year and didn’t get much time to explore the trade show floor. Next year, I hope to make more effort to visit booths on the trade show floor and connect with AFIA members at the AFIA booth! 

Torres: I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring other delegations to create these connections with our membership and work toward developing and expanding market access for our members.  

Wyman: I am most excited for the opportunity to interact and build strong relationships with more of AFIA's members. 

Comments See our policy on comments

Post a Comment

Required Field