Feed Mill of the Year honor goes to Sanderson Farms plant

by Arvin Donley
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IPPE 2018 2017 AFIA/Feedstuffs Feed Facility of the Year
Bill Bray (left), plant manager of the Collins facility, accepted the award, co-sponsored by AFIA and Feedstuffs.
 
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. — Sanderson Farms of Collins, Mississippi, U.S., was named the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year during the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Feed Education Program on Jan. 31 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Bill Bray, plant manager of the Collins facility, accepted the award, co-sponsored by AFIA and Feedstuffs. The award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations, emphasizes the company’s commitment to safety, quality, regulatory compliance and employee development and highlights its overall operating efficiencies.

Bray said Sanderson Farms employees are included in daily conversations about safety, and the company’s training programs allow supervisors to assist employees by providing personal attention. Facility personnel are encouraged to offer suggestions for improvements while reviewing and implementing change.

He said delegating authority to those who are the most knowledgeable about a particular area of the operation was one of the keys to success at the Sanderson Farms plant.

Depending on what we’re doing, the manager isn’t always the best one to make a decision,” he said. “It may be a person who has been on the job 10 years and we give him the opportunity to make those decisions and make him accountable for the wins and losses. It works, and it is a team effort.”

Sanderson
Sanderson Farms facility personnel are encouraged to offer suggestions for improvements while reviewing and implementing change.
Photo courtesy of AFIA.
Sanderson Farms’ Collins facility produces more than 400,000 tons of poultry feed each year. As one of Sanderson Farms’ eight feed mills, the facility processes 455 acres-worth of corn each day. It also serves as the grain delivery point for the company’s Laurel, Mississippi, facility.

Bray said Sanderson Farms reviews a variety of metrics daily, weekly, quarterly and annually to maximize efficiency and maintain or increase performance. These metrics include inbound ingredient specifications, ingredient moisture, mixer analyses on specified ingredients, weekly tons of feed produced, labor costs, feed conversion rates, utility usage and performance, and delivery costs.

Joel Newman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA
Joel Newman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA

“Sanderson Farms demonstrates excellence in each of the areas the Feed Facility of the Year program measures,” said Joel Newman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA. “They quickly rose to the top of this year’s competition and we are happy to present the company with this award.”

Formerly the Feed Mill of the Year Award, the AFIA and Feedstuffs modified the program in 2016, and it is now recognized as a first-class benchmarking program for the animal food industry. Representing each of the several types of feed manufacturing facilities within AFIA’s membership, the new format compares and recognizes top-performing facilities in four categories: commercial dry livestock, integrator, liquid feed and premix. From those, the Feed Facility of the Year award is selected.

The AFIA recognized the category winners earlier this month and honored them with plaques at the Feed Education Program. In addition to Sanderson Farms, which topped the integrator category, ADM Animal Nutrition of Cordele, Georgia, U.S., won the commercial dry livestock feed plant category; Westway Feed Products of Dimmit, Texas, U.S., won the liquid feed plant category for the second consecutive year; and Animix LLC of Juneau, Wisconsin, U.S., won the premix manufacturing plant category.

The Feed Education Program, held as part of the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) this week in Atlanta, also featured an update on regulatory issues affecting the U.S. feed industry such as the implantation of the Food Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Gary Huddleston, director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs for the AFIA, said the industry has made great strides to become compliant with both measures.

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