Hosted earlier this month, the Equipment Manufacturers Conference, was extremely successful according to Terry Medemblik, Walinga, EMC chairman. In addition, the EMC attendees raised over $2,000 for the feed manufacturing scholarship fund through donations and a golf tournament.
The conference, Complying with the Challenges of a Changing Industry, opened with a presentation, from Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and CEO, who provided the audience an update about the recent election as well as an overview of a recent Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics study, Future Patterns of U.S. Feed Grains, Biofuels and Livestock and Poultry Feeding which was funded by the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER).
Regarding the election, Newman stated, “The best news is, it’s over. With President Obama’s reelection, this is a second chance, not a mandate. In addition, with little change in Congress; the House is controlled by republicans and the Senate is controlled by democrats. Both parties will have to compromise on the very important issues facing the nation such as the expiring tax cuts, Farm Bill, immigration reform and federal debt and tax reform.”
Diane Klemme, vice president and director of the grain division of Grain Service Corporation provided an update on the future needs of the global feed industry. “Diane’s presentation complimented Joel’s prior summary of the multiple demands on feed grains based on the C-FARE report very well,” according to Medemblik.
Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training, provided attendees an update on the Food Safety Modernization Act. Epperson explained that this new law applies to all ingredient processing facilities, all feed manufacturing facilities, pet food facilities, feed and ingredient imports and transportation. Epperson added, “We expect to see the draft rules out before the end of the year, now that the election has passed. The rules have been at OMB for review the past several months.” Epperson also provided updates on the OSHA combustible dust rule as well as globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals, or GHS and how it aligns with the current hazardous chemical system.
Shiva Davoudian, Miller Law Group, covered the do’s and don’ts of hiring and provided critical information on employment law. She also covered the changing landscape of employment policies, such as the need to institute social media guidelines.
The second day's sessions focused on OSHA rules from a feed mill manager’s perspective, from an equipment manufacturer’s perspective as well as from an OSHA expert.
Joe Beyerl, complex safety and health manager from Mountaire Farms, explained that his company focuses on guarding especially in and around augers and drags, prevention of rust, importance of railings and toeboards, confined space/bin entries, dust control, as well as working with contractors at their facilities.
Carol Easter, safety director for Merrill Fab, Agra Industries, presented on the importance of safety from prior to day one hiring new staff. Easter explained, “it starts during the interview process and when you are screening applicants.” Then upon hiring the culture from top down is about safety and the importance of a safe work environment.
Bill Pfister, president of Safety Training and Consulting, covered many of the important areas OSHA inspectors review at facilities. Medemblik commented, “Bill’s life-long experience in OSHA and training provided the audience with insightful information for all of us to consider at our own operations as well as those of our customers.”
Next year’s Equipment Manufacturers Conference will be held on Nov. 7 – 9, 2013 in Amelia Island, Florida.