The American Feed Industry Association surpassed its prior attendance record last week at its biannual Feed Industry Institute with 187 attendees. The total number present increased 10 percent from 2014. Both the 2014 and 2016 events were held in Minneapolis, Minn.
The event, which this year's attendees defined as a great opportunity to get acquainted with animal feed, was established in 1980 as a week-long training program on feed ingredients for new employees and a refresher course for seasoned personnel. Today, FII covers topics ranging from amino acids to feed formulation and feed safety programs to quality assurance.
FII class "professor," Leah Wilkinson, AFIA vice president of legislative, regulatory and state affairs, encouraged attendee participation each of the four days with activities recapping the agenda topics.
"One of the most important aspects of FII is for attendees to network with other individuals in their field and create connections that will be beneficial throughout their careers," said Wilkinson.
FII speakers, who volunteer their time to teach conference attendees on various entry-level topics, included: Brent Babyak, Phibro Animal Health Corporation; Cathy Bandyk, Ph.D., Westway Feed Products LLC; Elliot Block, Ph.D., Arm & Hammer Animal Health; Kristjan Bregendahl, Ph.D., ADM Animal Nutrition; Karl Dawson, Ph.D., Alltech, Inc.; Tom Earleywine, Ph.D., Land O'Lakes Animal Milk Products; Lance Forster, Jr., Ph.D., ADM Processing; Matt Gibson, Ph.D., LifeLine Foods, Inc.; Kevin Halpin, Ph.D., International Ingredient Corporation; Bob Hill, Ph.D., H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc.; and Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Elanco Animal Health.
Also, Vanessa Iseri, Ph.D., Kemin Animal Nutrition Health; Kate Jackson, Ph.D., Trouw Nutrition USA; Rich Kyllo, Adisseo USA Inc.; Kevin Larson, Diamond V; Brad Lawrence, Ph.D., Novus International, Inc.; Omarh Mendoza, Ph.D., The Maschhoffs; Dr. Steve Moreland, Nutriad, Inc.; Sarah Muirhead, Feedstuffs; Cody Neiss, The Scoular Company; Chad Risley, Ph.D., Berg+Schmidt America, LLC; Alok Singh, Ph.D., WL Port-Land Systems, Inc.; John Thomson, Ph.D., Evonik Industries; and Jason Vickers, Mars Petcare.
Sarah Muirhead, Feedstuffs, covered the difference between genetically modified organisms and natural foods, and discussed consumer perspectives on the heavily debated topic of food labels.
Communicating with consumers can happen anywhere, whether it is with family, friends or a during a trip to the farmers market, said Muirhead.
"Ninety-five percent of consumers make decisions based on taste, cost and nutrition," Muirhead explained to the audience.
Elanco Animal Health representative Dr. Bruce Hoffman, explained during his presentation the responsible and ethical use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production, stating "humans and pets use 10 times the amount of antibiotics than what is used in food animal production."
FII is hosted by AFIA's Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Committee and provides a forum for individuals new to the industry to network and learn about feed and ingredients first hand from highly qualified industry experts. Starting in 2018, AFIA's Nutrition Committee will resume the duties of hosting the historic event.
FII alumnus Rich Kyllo with Adisseo USA Inc. addressing the role enzymes play in animal feed.
Brent Babyak with Phibro Animal Health Corporation and attendees participating in a sampling exercise to show variation in premixes.