A second educational bonus is AFIA’s Feed Manufacturing Educational Program on Jan. 23-24. This will feature hard-hitting sessions on production topics, OSHA, product recalls and liabilities, etc. In addition to feed-related issues, two sessions are scheduled on human resources that every company faces. On Jan. 23. USPEA will feature a program on Immigration Impact on Labor Availability and on Jan. 24, AFIA will offer one on The Hazardous Waters of Staff Selection.
F&G: Talk about the impact of the international community at the Expo.
Runyon: IFE/IPE has partnered with the US Department of Commerce in its International Buyer Program. This provides unparalleled match-making opportunities for U.S.-based manufacturers to network with international visitors. The U.S. embassies are also promoting the events through their international network. They even invite and bring over delegations from their respective countries. One example from last year’s show alone — the delegation from Egypt bought over $1 million worth of equipment on the show floor.
F&G: The Pet Food Conference is a new offering at this year’s Expo: Why was it added?
Runyon: AFIA has a long history of working with companies involved in the pet food industry. The recent melamine controversy clearly illustrated the need for an enhanced awareness for quality control of ingredients, especially since more and more products are coming from outside the United States. On the poultry side, the Poultry Protein & Fat Council sees a lot of its product going into the pet food sector and, in the spirit of combining forces with the co-location of the two Expos, it was a natural to address the common issue. Initial response to the event has been outstanding. We anticipate more than 200 attendees from nearly every sector of the industry.
F&G: What are the key takeaways attendees can glean from this year’s Expos?
Runyon: There are numerous “takeaways” from IFE/IPE 2008. The Expo theme is “You Can’t See It All in One Day.” That is a good way to summarize what the Expos offer. I can only say that if you are in the feed and poultry industries and you aren’t there, then you are going to miss the biggest and potentially most rewarding activity of the year for your company.