Mar 29, 2021

Pet Food Industry Has Bright Future

Speakers at AFIA’s annual Pet Food Conference offer an optimistic view of the coming year

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) featured its 14th annual Pet Food Conference, covering the regulatory and trade outlook for the U.S. pet food sector along with changing consumer trends emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, online this winter.

The session included discussions on the role of behavioral economics in improving a company’s bottom line; the need for diverse ingredients to meet shared sustainability goals throughout the food and agriculture industry; the Food and Drug Administration’s work to streamline ingredient review approvals and bolster its safety inspection process; and potential opportunities and roadblocks that will influence near-term trade deals.

Speakers also discussed how the pet food industry is expected to change after the pandemic and showcased dogs being trained to detect diseases. Participants also had the opportunity to listen to pre-recorded sessions from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on its mid-year meeting, which took place in mid-January; the latest pet food production data from the Institute for Feed Education and Research; and the changes the Biden administration may bring to the U.S. trade policy.

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Friend of Pet Food Award

Galen Rokey

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) announced Galen Rokey and Michael Panasevich as the recipients of the 2021 Friend of Pet Food Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry.

Rokey, director of process technology in the companion animal division at Wenger Mfg., developed a cutting-edge thermal screw extrusion system that allows pet food companies to cook formulas containing fresh meat levels more than twice the amount previously possible.

Michael Panasevich

Panasevich, president and founder of Summit Ridge Farms, the world’s largest independent research facility completely dedicated to supporting the pet food industry, also participates in industry meetings involving pet food, including the Association of American Feed Control Officials feeding trials subcommittee.

“Rokey and Panasevich are both truly friends of pet food and we are thrilled to recognize them,” says Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs. “Rokey’s creative force has helped foster pet food’s transformation into an industry with high nutrition, quality and sanitary expectations.”

Scott Baker, marketing manager at SEM Minerals, LP, noted during the awards presentation that Panasevich’s passion and life’s work has “been to provide the most precise, accurate and scientific data that empowers the industry to develop absolutely the best diets, treats, supplements and products for consumers.”

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