Southern States Cooperative’s Roanoke Feed Mill, Vinton, VA, has been named the 2012 Feed Mill of the Year. The annual program is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs. Kent Nutrition Group, Rockford, IL, was named the runner-up.
The Southern States’ Roanoke Feed Mill (“Roanoke”), which was built in 1982 (originally constructed in 1935), manufactures 104,400 tons of feed every year. Safety is of utmost concern for Roanoke and its 34 employees.
The feed mill is third-party HACCP certified, is Safe Feed/Safe Food certified and is in compliance with the Bio-Terrorism Act. The mill has been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within the last year, and its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan is certified by a professional engineer.
Roanoke has a written safety program, which includes self-inspection for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance, as well as a written emergency plan. Its safety committee has four rotating members, comprised of both managing and non-managing employees. Minutes are taken at safety committee meetings and are posted in the mill.
Scales are calibrated on a quarterly basis and truck scales are checked every other month by an outside service. Rail weights are verified by comparing inventory by bin measurement to book. The mill has a buried storage tank and is in compliance with EPA regulations and has a predictive maintenance program in place.
On average, supervisors at the mill have been employed for 23 years. Non-managerial employees remain with Roanoke for an average of 15 years.
“Our dedicated people are very customer centric, driven to do the best they can for our loyal customers,” said Dave Jones, manager of the winning feed mill.
Roanoke takes pride in its programs to minimize waste. For starters, all usable paper including cardboard and office paper is baled for recycling. Wooden pallets are reused when possible or returned to the supplier for repair or to ground for boiler fuel along with any other plant wood scraps. Plastic mini pallets are reused, sold to others as nearly new or recycled along with any other plant plastic scraps including used elevator buckets.
Non-medicated feeds including fines are reworked, while medicated feeds are reworked back into themselves. Ingredients from bin clean-outs are sent to a composter. Aluminum cans are sold along with other plant scrap metal and used drive oil is sold for boiler fuel. Liquid product totes are returned to their supplier for reuse and tote sacks are given to others for bulk storage. At Roanoke, very little outside of stretch wrap and glass bottles go into their waste stream along with mixed floor sweepings.
In addition to offering OSHA training for a number of safety courses, Roanoke offers training for: heat stress, fall protection, substance abuse, electrical safety, arc flash, respiratory protection, safely working in hot and cold conditions, ladder safety, safe lifting, housekeeping, safety rules, home safety, emergency action plan, evacuation drill, SPCC, hand protection, safe forklift operation and trucking safety issues including handling of overhead power lines, guards and conveyor safety. The mill is also compliant with OSHA’s new respiratory protection regulations.
Seven of the mill’s employees are certified in first aid and CPR. The mill also offers a hearing conservation program, and annual hearing tests are required. Southern States Cooperative’s Roanoke Feed Mill did not have any lost time accidents in over four years.
This is Southern States’ Roanoke Feed Mill’s first win for the Feed Mill of the Year program. Asked for his thoughts on being named the 2012 Feed Mill of the Year, plant manager Dave Jones exclaimed, “For years we have danced around being the winner. Finally, we got the brass ring from the old fashioned Merry Go Round!”