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Labor is top of mind for many of our members and the industry, so we asked three animal food industry experts – all named Julie – for their input on the topic. Julie Zimny is the global human resources leader with Cargill Animal Nutrition; Julie Sexton is the senior vice president and chief human resource officer with Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Julie Coble is the human resources manager with Kent Nutrition. Here is final post of the three-part series.
Last fall, we had the opportunity to hear from some of our members about how they adjusted their corporate policies to not only protect the health and safety of their teams throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but also to care for the well-being of their employees. Many industry leaders recognized the exhaustion their employees were experiencing was real, especially as they struggled to deal with many unprecedented challenges simultaneously – from, at times, working overtime to cover for a reduction in staff, to learning how to work remotely, to juggling childcare.
It is often said that the strongest steel is forged by the most intense fires. In an adversarial dance, it is pounded and struck repeatedly before it’s plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two things make the metal pliable and able to withstand every battle it’s called upon to fight. We’ve just passed the one-year mark of living through the coronavirus pandemic. It’s hard not to reflect on where we have been during this challenging time, from canceling in-person events to adapting to a virtual environment to rethinking how we conduct our businesses to keep our employees safe and customers satisfied.
Ever since I was a child, I have loved science. I loved learning about how things grew, how chemicals worked together, you name it -- if it was at all science, I was interested. As I grew older, I saw how science can help solve problems, big and small. How with science, we can create apples that do not brown (and therefore my kids will eat them) or treat diseases with antibiotics and now, develop a vaccine that can help us all go “back to normal.”
The International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) Marketplace Week may be over, but the learning opportunities are far from done! IPPE’s TECHTalks, which are short educational presentations that discuss what the latest and greatest is out of the poultry, egg, meat and feed industries, are still available to watch on the IPPE Marketplace until Sunday, Feb. 28.
This fall, I had the opportunity to sit in on several virtual roundtables with many American Feed Industry Association members talking about how they dealt with COVID-19 in their businesses and operations. I was proud to hear every participant start by saying the health and safety of their staff, customers and suppliers was, and remains, their primary focus.
As a child, I would frequently get frustrated when the world (or in this case, my parents, teachers or siblings) dictated what I couldn’t do. I had plans! One day, my favorite fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Underwood, suggested that instead of thinking about what I can’t do, that I should think about what I can do. Turns out, there was a lot!
What the food supply chain experienced in March and how it responded to an almost overnight shift in consumer demand from foodservice to home kitchens in light of the coronavirus pandemic was “nothing short of remarkable.” That was the sentiment several of the country’s leading food companies told attendees at The Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum on Monday.
It has been about a year since I joined the American Feed Industry Association. I can say without a doubt – it has not been the year I expected! Instead of spending my days on the road meeting AFIA’s members in their offices or at their facilities, attending events and seeing the AFIA team work with our members to deliver first-class education and networking events, or meeting in-person with elected officials and government representatives, half of the year has been spent learning a new way of doing business.
Last week, we all settled into our home office chairs to listen to industry experts discuss important issues affecting the animal food industry. As a former Seattleite, I was looking forward to seeing industry colleagues in the Emerald City this past March for the American Feed Industry Association’s Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the webinar series that replaced it did not disappoint!
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