By Joel G. Newman
Special to Poultry Times
ARLINGTON, Va. — That’s a wrap … Twenty-fifteen is on its way out the door. However, we here at the American Feed Industry Association, and across the industry, can sing “Auld Lang Syne,” with a smile, as the past year has brought positive changes, and outcomes, for the animal food industry.
As we spent much of 2015 awaiting the final animal food rule, AFIA staff worked diligently on various projects — both legislative and regulatory. Globally, trade moved into the spotlight, making forward moves, first with the passage of Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015, then Trade Promotion Authority — TPA allows Congress to review and approve or disapprove trade agreements, but only with an up-or-down vote — and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
In response to 2014’s porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, and in preparation for the release of the Food Safety Modernization Act final rule, AFIA staff updated its biosecurity guidance document, offering industry an above-the-bar standard to use to develop a biosecurity plan within their feed manufacturing facility. AFIA also worked in coordination with the National Grain & Feed Association to release the Occupational Safety & Health Administration Hazard Communication Standard Compliance Guide to industry.
This year came with celebrations too. Twenty-fifteen marked the 10-year anniversary of AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food certification program. Since its inception in 2005, the program has recognized 300 facilities, including 32 charter members, in the U.S. and Canada for surpassing federal standards in quality and safety in animal food production. The portion of the industry who participate in this program are ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to FSMA, as Safe Feed/Safe Food is the No. 1 recommended way (per AFIA) to prepare for implementation of the rule.
Speaking of FSMA, it goes without saying; the final rules had the largest impact to the industry in 2015. Released in September, AFIA has since been wading through the rules, developing training content and answering the overwhelming, but valid, amount of questions from our members. This has been one of those times when everyone on the team has had to come play ball, and their game has been 100 percent thus far.
AFIA staff has been in the field, visiting plants, instructing trainings and even conducting one-on-one meetings. AFIA membership has had exceptional attendance at FSMA-related events and is heavily engaged in the conversation. Thanks to the responsiveness of the industry, and the expertise not just from AFIA, but from many areas, the start of the implementation process is off to a good start.
As we look forward, 2016 will also bring bright light for the feed industry and our producer customers. The current commodity prices will keep the price of feed down within reasonable levels, based on both domestic and global grain supplies. This will reflect positively upon producers and the feed industry, as feed accounts for 60 percent to 70 percent of livestock and poultry production costs. It’s important to make the point though; a possible weather system shift from El Niño to La Niña during the 2016 crop year can change this stability in grain and feed prices at any moment.
However, the strong value of the U.S. dollar could have the potential to negatively affect global exports, which would not bode well for the industry, as all poultry and livestock sectors are increasingly dependent on exports. This may dampen the overall demand for meat, milk and eggs, and thus feed demand.
Looking beyond commodity prices — and adding on to FSMA, which will be a mega game player in 2016 — industry should be prepared for the Veterinary Feed Directive rule compliance dates to overlap with FSMA. While food safety and judicious use of antibiotics in animal production are priorities for the industry, these are significant new requirements that are being implemented at one time, and will require coordination with other parts of the food chain. AFIA is working diligently to provide the industry with guidance and training programs to ensure a practical approach to compliance with these regulations.
The International Production & Processing Expo (www.ippexpo.org) will take place Jan. 26-28, 2016, in Atlanta, Ga., and is hosted by AFIA alongside the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the North American Meat Institute. The show expects 30,000 industry stakeholders and more than 1,250 exhibitors. Don’t miss us at booth A-3 on:
- Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
For the ninth year, AFIA will host its Pet Food Conference, Jan. 26, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Expo. Conference attendees will hear from government officials, industry representatives and AFIA staff on issues including “Pet Obesity,” “Research Updates – Allergens” and “Labeling Claims: Country of Origin, GMO and Others.” The conference will also address the implementation of the largest rule to impact animal food since the 1950s — FSMA.
FSMA will solely be highlighted in AFIA’s Phase III training at IPPE, Jan. 27, 2016. The one-day session will cover various components of the law, published in the Federal Register Sept. 17, “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals.” Another impactful rule affecting the animal food industry — the Veterinary Feed Directive — will be a topic of conversation during AFIA’s two-hour education session, Jan. 26, which will cover changes made to the rule and describe the challenges industry can expect moving forward. We hope to see you at Expo, whether it be at an AFIA seminar or on the showroom floor.
AFIA readily accepts the regulatory challenges to come in 2016, and we are ready to assist the industry in the needs that may arise, large and small. On behalf of everyone at AFIA, we wish you the best for the New Year!
Joel Newman is the American Feed Industry Association’s president, CEO and corporate treasurer. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the International Feed Industry Federation, headquartered in Germany.