2023 animal feed industry accomplishments and insights [Video]

Feed ingredient proposals, sustainability ´╗┐and formaldehyde are just some of the topics discussed by AFIA's ´╗┐Constance Cullman.

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Feed & Grain: Can you give us a quick recap of what the AFIA had going on in 2022?

Constance Cullman: 00:11

2022 was a really busy year for AFIA. We had a lot of activity working with the FDA to advance the process to achieve a way to submit ingredient proposals that allow label claims and get those approved so that we can be competitive with the rest of the world. So that was a big one. We were excited to see FDA move forward with the listening session last fall, which really drove home to the FDA the importance of the entire animal food supply chain, that this is important. Then, of course, we were making sure we weren't slowing down on where we were sending our products. We really focused internationally on a lot of the international standard-setting bodies to make sure that our products can smoothly move from one market to another, with a special emphasis on Vietnam. Vietnam is the fastest growing economy in the world, people there are hungry for more animal protein, and they are looking for quality feed to be able to produce that good quality animal protein product.

Cullman: 01:10

And then, of course, we didn't let the grass grow under our feet. We said, well, if we've got the ability to have products on the market with these label claims, how can we help NRCS make those available to farmers with cost-share dollars under equipment? So we're working with NRCS to try to find a way to get more feed management expertise on their team.

F&G: What has the AFIA focused on at this IPPE? Any big announcements or projects?

Cullman: 01:36

We've had some very big announcements, especially in the area of sustainability. So as you know, I feed her a foundation of I have AFIA that we work with very closely. Of course, has been doing a lot of work really taking a deep dive into what our members need to help advance them on their sustainability journey. And the biggest thing we thought about was why not a toolbox, a toolbox of things such as materiality assessments, how to think about sustainability in one operation, and how to move that along. And so we're very excited that we have launched a toolkit available to all AFIA members to help them identify what next steps they need to take on that sustainability journey. So very excited about that. And, of course, we had some amazing programming going on that really allowed us to provide some good educational resources as well.

Cullman: 02:34

And I did get to do some fun things. I popped into the pet food conference, where we had record attendance, and we had over 400 folks show up. And the really exciting thing is the innovation that's happening in the pet food industry. And when you take a look at the incredible talent of the three undergraduates that presented some of the innovative things that they're doing, along with the poster sessions we had, we know that our future is in good hands with that continued commitment to quality and safety.

F&G: How has your IPPE gone? What were the topics you spoke on, and did you get any time to do any of the fun stuff?

Cullman: 03:04

In the areas of pet food and feed education, the big story was really about formaldehyde. And it really drove home the message that we need to get our government agencies to talk to one another. EPA is in the process of phasing out formaldehyde. But yet FDA will acknowledge it's the only tool we have to fight salmonella and one of the best tools in our arsenal for African swine fever. So that was a really big take-home message for a lot of folks in our audience that we really do need to make sure we can preserve these very important tools. And then, of course, we had a biosecurity session that was about really about the viruses that are out there and the real threat that they pose, but how much we can do to mitigate that and reduce that risk. And then, finally, I'm going to throw in one that maybe folks don't realize was going on. And that was an international feed industry Federation conference, where I got to have some really dynamic conversations with my international colleagues.

F&G: If watchers want to get more involved in AFIA, where should they start?

Cullman: 04:11

Actually, come to any AFIS staff, person, or board member, or just go to our website. We've got some great ways for members to be more involved. We have our committee structure really where all of the work gets done. So if people have a specific interest in a topic, we've got over 15 committees that dive deep into the issues affecting the US feed industry and pet food industry. So we would love to have people look into those committees to be able to offer insights and then exchange information and learn more from their colleagues.

Constance CullmanConstance Cullman

Constance Cullman, president and CEO of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) talks with Feed & Grain about what the association accomplished in 2022 and what the association has on its docket for 2024.