AFIA names Koch Farms as 2019 Feed Facility of the Year

Company’s Morton, Mississippi, location is the overall award winner

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has named Koch Farms of Morton, Mississippi, as its 2019 Feed Facility of the Year (FFY).

Gary Huddleston, AFIA’s director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs, announced that the mill won the award during AFIA’s Feed Production Education Program,at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta.

“Koch Farms is our overall winner because it is extremely obvious that the mill is very well managed,” said Huddleston. “I was blown away by the cleanliness of the facility and that shows how dedicated the whole team is to delivering a safe and high-quality product.”

The FFY award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations, from the company’s commitment to safety, quality and regulatory compliance to employee development to overall operating efficiencies. To date, only 34 facilities have received this esteemed industry award.

Koch Farms’ Morton mill produces nearly 800,000 tons of feed per year, all of it going to the poultry integrator’s farms located in the surrounding region.

Koch Farms is part of Koch Foods, a food processor and distributor based in Park Ridge, Illinois, that is considered among the largest private companies in the U.S. Started as a one-room operation in 1985, Koch Foods is today considered one of the nation’s largest vertically integrated poultry producers, with locations across Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee.

There are many factors that helped Koch Farms win the overall FFY award, including its commitment to organization, cleanliness and safety. At Koch Farms, cleanliness and safety go hand in hand and are the center of the team’s daily mission. “A clean work area is a safe work area” is the messaging prominently displayed at the mill and, to mill manager Frank Garczynski, those aren’t merely words.

The facility has upwards of 325 grouped areas of equipment in its parts management system. Garczynski explained that they can’t risk long periods of downtime at the mill as it can have significant ramifications throughout the rest of the production system. The new 70×40 storage building is where the parts are inventoried and stored to allow for easy access when needed. The facility used a Lean Management influenced 6-S organization (sort; set in order; shine; standardize; sustain; and safety) system to lay out building contents.

Despite the large amount of feed it produces, the Morton mill has not had a lost-time accident in four years. The mill is considered in the top 5% of individual mill capacities worldwide and it is all produced in just five days a week.

AFIA has conducted the FFY program since 1985, and is recognized as a first-class benchmarking program for the animal food industry, awarding top-performing facilities in four categories: commercial dry, integrator, liquid feed and premix. From those, the FFY award is selected.