AFIA Board Advocates for Feed Industry Issues on Capitol Hill, Installs New Leadership

May 20, 2024

Contact Victoria Broehm

Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., passes the gavel to newly installed AFIA Board chair Leigh Ann Sayen (right).  


The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Board of Directors wrapped up its annual spring meeting in Arlington, Va., last Thursday, where they advocated for key policy priorities impacting the animal food industry on Capitol Hill and conducted other official business, including installing new Board leadership and directors. 

On Thursday morning, the directors met with over 35 U.S. Senate and House offices, advocating for several legislative priorities on behalf of the total feed industry, including the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development Act (Innovative FEED Act) (S. 1842/H.R. 6687), Enteric Methane Innovation Tools for Lower Emissions and Sustainable Stock Act (EMIT LESS Act) (S.4056), Securing American Agriculture Act (H.R. 8003), Sound Science for Farmers Act (S. 3719) and the farm bill.   

Dan Meagher, president and
CEO of Novus International, Inc. 

During the official business meeting, the AFIA Board of Directors recognized outgoing chair Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., vice president of global regulatory affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., for his leadership over the past year. Gonzalez now transitions into one year of service as chair of the Institute for Feed Education and Research’s (IFEEDER) Board of Trustees. 

As part of my year as chair, I had the opportunity to oversee the planning and execution of the Executive Leadership Summit and Rising Leaders program, which provided a great forum for incredible discussions on key topics facing the animal food industry with members and the future leaders of our industry,” said Gonzalez. “The AFIA had many successes this past year, and many before that, from the continued legislative, regulatory and trade policy work, planning of various member education and engagement opportunities, and the growing level of respect for IFEEDER. I have a lot of respect for this organization, the staff and members, and it has been my honor to represent all of you and pay it back to this industry we all love.” 

The AFIA Board installed Leigh Ann Sayen, chief executive officer of The Peterson Company, as its new chair, effective through the end of AFIA’s fiscal year April 30, 2025. It also voted to accept the nomination of Dan Meagher, president and chief executive officer of Novus International, Inc., to become chair-elect of the organization for the 2025-26 AFIA fiscal year.    

“I thank you for the trust you have placed in me over the next year, representing the AFIA at the national and international levels, and for the support from previous Board chairs and fellow directors as I enter this role,” said Sayen. “It has been wonderful getting to know the new directors this week and an inspiring experience to see our Board leadership standing up for the industry on Capitol Hill. There is always more work to do to advance the animal food industry’s noble cause of feeding the world more sustainably.” 

The Board also confirmed the appointments of the following individuals to serve three-year terms: Todd Armstrong, Ph.D., Phibro Animal Health Corporation; Eric Arnold, Bill Barr & Company, Inc.; Mariano Berdegue, Ph.D., Cargill Animal Nutrition; Kristin Bonham, dsm-firmenich; Nicholas Braden, Wilbur-Ellis Pet Nutrition; Brent Brinegar, Lincoln Premium Poultry; Christi Brown, Zinpro Corporation; Katie Cook, Elanco Animal Health; Raj Kasula, D.V.M., Wenger Feeds, LLC; Sean McNear, Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd; Terry Medemblik, Walinga USA; David Probert, International Ingredient Corporation; Chad Risley, Ph.D., Berg +Schmidt America, LLC; Apoorva Shah, SAM Nutrition; and David Stephens, Seminole Feed.  

The Board approved eight nominated individuals as additional members to its 15-member AFIA Executive Committee, which now includes: Arnold; Holly Bellmund, GLC Minerals, LLC; Berdegue; Rob Brock, Westway Feed Products LLC; Julio Contreras, Sweet Manufacturing Company; Cook; Gonzalez; Jonathan Griffin, Balchem Corporation; Meagher; Medemblik; Matt Podany, EBM Manufacturing; Mark Poeschl, Furst-McNess Company; Daniel Rice, Western Milling; Kevin Schluender, Land O’Lakes; and Karl Thoene, CHS Inc. 

The AFIA thanks the following outgoing Board members for their three years of service: John Akridge, MFA Incorporated; Scott Anderson, California Pellet Mill; Kerry Courchaine, Darling Ingredients, Inc.; Gerry Daignault, The Maschhoffs LLC; Brandon Dacey, Kemin Industries Inc.; Mike Gauss, Kent Nutrition Group, Inc.; Frank Goode, ILC Resources; David Hansen, Selko USA LLC; Scott Lovin, AgState; Lisa Norton, BioZyme Incorporated; Gisele Santos Bin, BASF Corporation; Ted Williams, D&D Ingredients LLC; and Wesley Wilson, Ag ProVision, LLC.  

The complete 48-member list of directors can be found on AFIA’s website.