Written by: Gary Huddleston | February 18, 2021
I started my career in 1984 after graduating college by going to work for Southern States Cooperative. Following a short stint in the retail division and as a store manager, I made the move to the feed division as a plant superintendent in a Southern States feed mill. Part of my “feed education” included attending the Kansas State University two-week short course on feed manufacturing in 1988. That’s when I was formally introduced to the larger feed industry.
One of the coolest things about the KSU short course was that each participant received their very own copy of Feed Manufacturing Technology (FMT) III, which had been updated and published in 1985. I looked at this resource as my personal “Feed Manufacturing Bible.” That big brown book was never far from my desk, until I upgraded to a copy of FMT IV when I became a feed mill manager in 1996. It was a resource that I referred to often. The book contains a wealth of knowledge about feed manufacturing from the history of this great industry to current regulations affecting how we operate. It’s an A-to-Z manual on how to manage a feed mill.
As I began to flip through the pages of my copy of FMT III that warm summer day in 1988, I quickly realized that many of the authors were going to be presenters over the next two weeks. Great industry educators like Keith Behnke, Robert McEllhiney, Robert Schoeff and Fred Fairchild were on the program and listed among the authors. It was a great experience to meet these contributing authors and learn from them over the next two weeks.
Over the next 27 years that I spent in the manufacturing sector of the feed industry, I had the pleasure of meeting many other contributing authors of FMT. Several of my colleagues at Southern States wrote chapters for FMT IV and V. Through my involvement in the industry, I met other contributing authors, including Joe Harris, Randy Henley, Bert Emmerson, Ernie Bollinger and Keith Epperson. I look up to these individuals and respect their knowledge of the industry. After joining the American Feed Industry Association in 2015, I had the pleasure of working with and learning from Henry Turlington, Richard Sellers and Arthur Tsien, all contributing authors as well. Through my responsibilities at the AFIA, I have also become friends with other contributing authors, including Richard Galutia, Stuart Martin, Galen Rokey and Dave Fairfield, who have all made a positive impact on our industry.
One of my recent responsibilities with the AFIA has been to oversee the project of moving FMT to an online publication. This move will make this great resource more accessible and easier to update. As I sit in my office this cold day in February, I find myself with FMT online open on my computer as I work and a humbling thought occurs to me: back on that warm day in 1988, I would have never imagined myself one day being a contributing author! I have had the great privilege of working with my colleague Paul Davis, Ph.D., AFIA’s director of quality, animal food safety and education, on writing the Food Safety Modernization Act chapter prior to launching FMT Online. I look back fondly at our conversations in airports or over dinner after a long day of teaching a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual course as we shaped the chapter. It brings a smile to my face on this cold day.