Jan 28, 2022

AFIA's Sarah Novak Wraps Up IPPE 2022 [VIDEO]

Sarah Novak, vice president of Membership & Public Relations for the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), spoke with Feed & Grain on the last day of this year's International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) about the show. Unable to host the Expo in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFIA and the feed industry were finally able to get back to face-to-face interactions.


Sarah Novak
I'm Sarah Novak, vice president of membership and public relations with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA).

Feed & Grain

IPPE is back in-person this year, what are some of the benefits of having an in-person event?


I don't think you can replace anything to that face-to-face conversation and that face-to-face interaction. A lot of events have tried over the last two years and programs but be able to walk down the aisle and have that what they say hallway talk or aisle talk is second to nothing. So we're really excited to have everyone back here in person to have those conversations.


What are some of the challenges in having a show during Covid?


Certainly during a show during COVID, and planning for IPPE, you know, thinking about ways to keep people safe and healthy, and all of those types of things were conversations we had, for the last quite frankly 18 months. Some of the meeting rooms we've been set up to be a little more socially distance encouraging and recommending vaccination and masking are all different strategies that people can use. We're really excited to have everyone back, ready to you know, continue to move forward with trade shows.


What has changed with IPPE since 2020?


All exchange since 2020. You know, two years ago is just such a long time ago, quite frankly, not only are exhibitors you know, they have products and services they've been trying to launch through these last 18- 24 months, they're able to showcase a lot of those new innovative ideas and things. So you know, our exhibitors very excited to be back and talk about those new services and products they offer. The show floor is a little bit different this year. The feed and ingredients and equipment are alongside the live production so we're all in the B-hall this year, and the meat processing and packaging is in the C-Hall we've got the new BC-Hall, which connects the two so you could walk the whole 500,000 square feet from one end to the other without even having to go up an escalator.


What were some of your highlights from this year's Expo?


We had a really great Expo as the association at AFIA we were able to give away a couple of awards. We gave away the Feed Facility The Year for the Commercial Dry Feed and it went to Kent Feeds in Mason, Michigan. I was going to check my notes to make sure I'm right on that one. So Kent Feeds got the Feed Facility of the Year award. Our Pet Food Conference we were where we had nearly 300 people we gave our two friends of Pet Food Award to Dr. George Fahey and Dr. Janice Jewel, Dr. Fahey at the University of Illinois and Dennis has retired from Hills Pet Nutrition, both leaders in the industry who really innovated and created new opportunities for the pets, our pets or dogs or cats and the pet food industry as a whole. So we were able to give some awards, which is always nice to be able to give those in-person to those individuals who are just, you know, rock stars in their industry. We had a number of education programs, including our Feed Education Program. We're Gary Huddleston and the production Compliance Committee put together with updates from OSHA and EPA, we had a great speaker on preparing for a pandemic as we're in a pandemic. But it always gives an opportunity for companies to think about, you know what else they should be or could be doing. So we had a lot of great things. We had some tech talks from our staff overall there were 80 Tech Talks across the floor. Our staff had a few on ingredient approvals and claims we had one on what's happening in Washington DC and what to expect in this election year. And then I theater our foundation was able to talk a little bit about a new report on GM-free feeds and the impact on the millers. So we're excited to share some new information.


Why should feed manufacturers consider sending personnel to IPPE next year?


You know, this is a great program to see new innovations, new products, new services, you know, where do you need to take your feed mill, you know, in the future a lot of great education programs. In fact, Feed & Grain and Watt (Feed Strategy) did a program on the feed mills and the Feed Mill the Future. They had a great panel talking about kind of what to expect in automation innovation. So sending your staff sending your junior staff you know great opportunity to network with others a great opportunity to learn more and just walk away with you know a lot of new business contacts and ideas.

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