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AFIA Remembers Steve Kopperud

Kopperud, 69, served the industry for 35 years in various capacities


The American Feed Industry Association announces the passing of former AFIA staff Steve Kopperud.

Kopperud, 69, died on Oct. 19 of a sudden and highly unexpected arrhythmia while in Minneapolis for a family wedding.

Kopperud served the industry for 35 years, serving as senior vice president of legislative affairs at the AFIA for more than 20 years and as government affairs consultant for almost 15 years, before officially retiring in 2017. Perhaps his longest-lasting legacy, he founded the Animal Industry Foundation, now the Animal Agriculture Alliance, in the 1980s as a forum for producer and industry organizations to counter the rising public relations and legislative challenges of anti-meat activists.

“Steve loved the association and its members and was proud to represent them in D.C. for so many years, having accomplished many policy goals for the industry,” says Leah Wilkinson, AFIA’s vice president of public policy and education. “His knowledge, leadership and mentorship will be missed by all of the AFIA staff, his many, many connections around town and throughout the feed industry.”

Prior to joining the AFIA, Kopperud was a reporter with the Minneapolis Star and the San Diego Tribune. He was also the former Washington bureau chief for Mill Publishing/American Broadcasting Corp’s publishing division where he wrote for Feedstuffs.

“Steve’s knack for storytelling would only be outdone by his talent as a journalist, demonstrated in his bi-weekly eight-page Washington Update articles for FeedGram,” Wilkinson says. “His passion for all things politics, policy and agriculture were second to none.”

During his retirement, he had been working to create a scholarship at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. The scholarship is expected to become final by the end of the year and will be the primary designated memorial. Any memorial gathering will be delayed until the end of pandemic restrictions, more information will be shared as it becomes available.

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