Feed Bites

New Training Modules Offer Flexibility, Convenience & Affordability to Online Learners

Written by: Lacie Dotterweich   |   June 5, 2020

Online learning, Member value, Education

When it comes to professional development and training, we generally want what’s quick and easy so we can get back to doing what we do best -- our jobs. What if we told you there’s a new option to build your skills that’s affordable, convenient and high-quality? I’m talking about the American Feed Industry Association’s new online, on-demand modules that allow feed industry employees to learn more about feed production and their specific roles in a way that fits their schedules and budget.

AFIA worked with Kansas State University to select content from its well-respected AFIA-KSU 500: “Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing” online course and make it available in smaller segments online and on-demand. The new modules are perfect for employees who need to learn more about specific topics or facilities that have budget constraints and cannot afford to send employees away from their jobs for extended periods of time to complete skills training.

I had the opportunity to talk with Trina Adams, KSU’s distance education manager, on what the main difference is between the 500 course and the on-demand modules. She listed the ability to meet many different needs as one of the main differences.

“With the content on-demand, participants can select the topics that are of most interest to them. Not everyone needs all of the content available through the 500 course, or wants to pay for information they don’t really need, which makes the modules a better fit for a variety of educational needs and price points,” she said.

Dr. Charles Stark, one of the KSU module leaders, shared this sentiment. “If a mill doesn’t have a pellet mill, you don’t have to learn about it like you would with the 500 course,” he said. “You can pick what is unique and of interest.”

This pick-and-choose feature may also be extra helpful to those looking to learn internationally.

“The overall process isn’t that different all over the world but there are some nuances,” said Dr. Adam Farenholz of North Carolina State University, a module leader. “There is no such thing as ‘bulk’ in some places. Spending time reviewing the [United States’] Food Safety Modernization Act regulation content might not appeal as much to international participants, but grinding and pelleting would.”

Another one of the benefits of the modules are the two layers of customer support available between KSU and AFIA, should participants have questions.

Seven topics are available through the modules, including:

  • AFIA 500A: Overview of U.S. Feed Industry and History, which covers the evolution of the U.S. animal food industry, including governmental oversight of the industry and current issues;
  • AFIA 500B: Batching, Mixing and Particle Size Reduction, which covers the types of equipment used to batch ingredients, how to calculate the batch cycle time and how to determine the correct order of ingredient addition to a mixer;
  • AFIA 500C: Pelleting Process, which covers the benefits of pelleting, the purpose of conditioning, the principles of conditioning and pellet mills and pellet die specifications;
  • AFIA 500D: Finished Product Packaging and Bulk Loadout, which covers the finished product packaging, warehousing, product labeling, truck fleet management and feed recall;
  • AFIA 500E: Basics of Quality Assurance, which covers good quality assurance programs, factors to consider when establishing and fundamentals of the feed safety plan hazard analysis and preventive controls;
  • AFIA 500F: Boilers and Boiler Efficiency, which covers the boiler and steam definitions and energy balance, water treatment, boiler designs and steam harness; and
  • AFIA 500G: Preventive Maintenance, Sanitation and Energy Conservation, which provides an overview of preventive maintenance, including developing a program, costs and inventory management.

With these modules, there is something for everyone who is looking to learn more about the animal food industry. AFIA is happy to be able to offer this valuable information in a virtual, more flexible, cost-effective way.

 

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