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Animal Food Equipment Sector Prepares for Safety Challenges

Conference focused on two issues central to the business of animal food: food safety and biosecurity

EMC conference Nov 2021 NOLA

Nearly 50 industry professionals gathered in New Orleans last week to participate in the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) annual Equipment Manufacturers Conference (EMC).

Hosted by AFIA’s Equipment Manufacturers Committee, this year’s conference focused on two issues that are central to the business of animal food: food safety and biosecurity.

"The biggest message EMC attendees walked away with from this year’s conference was this: we can and must do better,” says Gary Huddleston, AFIA’s director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs.

“By working together, feed manufacturers, equipment manufacturers along with facility design and build firms can do a better job improving their biosecurity and food safety programs, and as we heard last week, some of it starts with creating workplace cultures that prioritize these programs.”

The conference included sessions on how companies should consider the physical operations of their mills (i.e., their equipment designs and processes) and the value of their human capital – their employees – to achieving success in their food safety and biosecurity programs.

It also offered attendees an opportunity to hear about the Washington political environment, an update on feed machinery standards coming out of the International Organization for Standardization and reflections for how this unique industry segment has changed over the years from recently retired Feed & Grain publisher Arlette Sambs.

Nineteen attendees participated in the annual golf tournament, which raises money in support of the EMC scholarship fund. Administered by the Institute for Feed Education and Research, this fund supports college students pursuing careers in the feed or grain sciences industries at six universities, including Kansas State, California State Polytechnic, North Carolina State, Northern Crops Institute, Iowa State and Auburn.

This year, the combined funds raised from the golf tournament, raffle and EBM Manufacturing match raised a total of $4,000 for the fund, and the committee announced a seventh scholarship at West Virginia University in honor of Joel G. Newman, previous AFIA president and CEO, who retired from the association in December 2019.

“Since 2009, our EMC scholarship fund has grown and is now providing $3,000 scholarships annually at six academic institutions, supporting young industry professionals who will be the future of our workforce,” says Mike Schuster, of Laidig Systems, Inc. and current AFIA Board chair, in prepared remarks.

“The AFIA Equipment Manufacturers Committee’s work has led to an informative, efficient, fund-building conference, and we are delighted today to add another scholarship at WVU in honor of Joel Newman, who spent his 50-year career in the agriculture and food industries.”

The AFIA congratulated the first-place winners of this year’s golf tournament: Andrew Ellsworth of EBM Mfg., Geraldo Morantes of Buhler Inc., Paul Allen of Chief Agri-Industrial Division and Terry Medemblik of Walinga USA.

The 2022 EMC will take place Nov. 9-11 in St. Petersburg, Fla. For the latest AFIA events, visit

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