Last week, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) welcomed over 275 feed ingredient buyers and sellers from across the country to Orlando, FL, for its annual Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference (PISC), postponed from March.
The three-day program offered attendees the ability to reconnect with industry colleagues, make new connections, conduct business and engage in professional development.
“Since March 2020, our members have been solely focused on safely manufacturing animal food to keep the U.S. food and pet food supply chain stable amid many pandemic-induced challenges,” said AFIA’s President and CEO Constance Cullman.
“Although our industry has adapted well to the new business environment, it thrives on personal relationships and we knew our members longed to reconnect with their industry colleagues in a professional forum. While we certainly missed those who could not be with us in-person this week, we heard from PISC attendees that they relished the time spent learning about the current market forces that could impact their businesses and networking with their industry colleagues."
The event included two days’ worth of educational programming, with a diverse lineup of speakers, including:
- Temple Grandin, Ph.D., of Colorado State University, who challenged the industry to leverage the expertise and innovation from small players in agriculture to help the U.S. achieve its sustainability goals and address consumers’ demands for locally produced products;
- Cassandra Jones, Ph.D., of Kansas State University, who discussed the ways the feed industry can mitigate the risk of spreading the African swine fever (ASF) virus via their manufacturing facilities to U.S. swine herds and the implications of the first ASF cases in the Dominican Republic on U.S. agriculture;
- Former U.S. ambassador Gregg Doud, of Aimpoint Research, who described how “disrupters” in the marketplace can change the future trade environment for animal protein and dairy foods;
- Eric Mittenthal, of the North American Meat Institute, who spoke on changing consumer attitudes toward animal protein and plant-based foods;
- Richard Brock, of Brock Associates, Inc., and Joseph Kerns, of Partners for Production Agriculture, who provided expert economic analysis of the future grain and animal production markets;
- Kim Bremmer, of Ag Inspirations, who spoke on the need for agricultural companies to play an active role in their local and state civic organizations to correct misinformation; and
Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney, a fighter pilot and PGA professional, who spoke on how individuals can find purpose by following their dreams despite their fears of failure.
For the first time, the AFIA conducted a blood drive to assist in the nationwide blood shortage, collecting over a dozen units of blood with the potential to save 30 American lives.
A recording of the educational program will be made available for purchase in the AFIA Online Store starting in September and photos from the event are available on AFIA’s social media channels.
The 2022 PISC will be held in San Francisco, CA, March 8-10. For the latest AFIA calendar of events, visit afia.org/events.