The 2012 Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference (PISC), an annual two-day event of the American Feed Industry Association, concluded last week in Orlando, Florida, where 553 individuals working within the livestock feed and pet food industry gathered to learn about the latest issues, events and other matters. AFIA’s Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Committee has sponsored the annual event for many years.
PISC, held March 14-16, represents one of the best opportunities to learn about the current state of the animal feed industry, providing market analyses, perspectives on the animal feed industry, hot topics and a host of other valuable tools and information. This year’s topics included barcoding, packaging, China’s impact on agriculture production, a look at upcoming state and federal regulatory requirements regarding animal feed/food production, an industry update from a legal perspective and outlooks on energy, grain, livestock and poultry.
“This year’s event was very well attended, which speaks highly of the caliber of speakers sharing their expertise, as well as the word of mouth recommendation from last year’s attendees,” AFIA president and CEO Joel G. Newman explained.
Conference attendees learned about the benefits of barcoding during the opening session. These benefits include recall efficiency and compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, explained Grant Siebert, DSM. According to Jeff Weaver, Southern Graphics and Systems Inc., customers now expect companies to barcode products, and those who do not may risk losing long-time customers. Chris Enloe, NutraBlend LLC, explained how valuable barcoding was through an entire supply chain—from the manufacturer, through the distributor, feed mill and onto the farm.
The contract packaging speakers, Todd Kimbrell, Hood Packaging, addressed how livestock and pet food companies are answering the call of suppliers and are transitioning to woven poly bags. Roxanne McSpadden, Graphic Packaging International, addressed how focusing on the environment, consumers and profitability were the contributing factors to sustainable packaging, which represents a cost-effective method for the industry to address sustainability.
“The world will need 30 percent more energy by 2030,” according to Nate Jenkins, ExxonMobil. This will mostly be achieved by improvements to efficiency. Jenkins also stated that the U.S. is not expected to meet the “25x25” target of using 25 percent of renewable energy sources by 2025.
During the second day of the conference, attendees received a grain outlook from Richard Brock of Brock Associates, a commodity marketing and hedging advice company, and a livestock and poultry forecast from Tom Abrahamson of Cargill, Inc. Greg Duerksen, Kincannon & Reed, addressed the difficulties the industry is facing attracting and retaining personnel in his presentation, “A War for Talent,” and what employers must do to entice a younger workforce into an aging industry.
In a closer look at the feed industry from a legal perspective, Jolyda Swaim, of the law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC detailed her crisis management protocol through her experience at Sara Lee Corp., while James Hansen, Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell LLP, presented guidelines to handling a product liability lawsuit.
The penultimate speaker, Leah Wilkinson of AFIA, explained the federal regulatory requirements and compliance dates associated with the Food Safety Modernization Act. In the closing session, Bill Westman of the American Meat Institute addressed China’s impact on agriculture production.
During the conference, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) hosted its second annual silent auction. The auction raised over $10,000 for the foundation, which aims to address the future of food and feed production through education and research. “Make no mistake about it. We’re young, but we’re just getting started,” stated Dean Warras, vice chairman of the IFEEDER board, as he announced the foundation had surpassed $1 million in funds raised.