Feed industry veteran Steve Kopperud dies at age 69

Served the industry in many roles for more than 35 years

Animal agriculture industry veteran Steve Kopperud, 69, died October 19, 2020.

Kopperud was a graduate of the University of Minnesota in journalism and political science, and served the animal feed industry for more than 35 years. He was a reporter with the Minneapolis Star and the San Diego Tribune, then Washington bureau chief for Mill Publishing/American Broadcasting Corp.’s publishing division, where he wrote for Feedstuffs. He was American Feed Industry Association’s senior vice president of legislative affairs for more than 20 years and a government affairs consultant for 15 years before his retirement in 2017. He was senior vice president and, later, executive vice president of Policy Directions Inc. He also created his own firm, SLK Strategies, a Washington-based government affairs/communications company specializing in animal agriculture, nutrition, agribusiness, biotechnology, animal health/welfare, food, farm policy, trade and ag research issues whose clients included Fortune 500 companies and national trade associations.

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.

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 this year and will be the primary designated memorial.

He is survived by his wife, Judith (Komoroski); brother Dean (Susan); and sisters-in-law, Jill (Larson) Kopperud and Jean (Komorski Westerman) Bolin.

Any memorial gathering will be delayed until the end of pandemic restrictions. More information will be shared as it becomes available. His ashes will be interred at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.