WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosted seven feed industry professionals from Tunisia to learn about the feed process and how to teach their peers.

The Tunisian delegation completed a two-week short course this month, with time split between Iowa State University and the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S. Both institutions are partnering with the USGC and the Tunisian National Institute for Agronomy (INAT) to improve feed production techniques as part of a U.S. Department of State grant awarded to the USGC in fall 2018.

Using a train-the-trainer model, the USGC has formed a Center for Feed Manufacturing in Tunisia, offering curriculum in feed manufacturing and animal nutrition for the local industry, complemented by practical hands-on training in the Center’s feed mill.

“The Council made the strategic decision to design this program under a train-the trainer model to support local buy-in and encourage the Tunisian feed industry to be our partners in this program,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa. “This Center will serve as a key component of the Council’s longer term strategy within the Tunisian feed industry, which aims to develop and modernize the country’s feed and livestock sectors.”

As part of the educational process, students like the seven August participants will come to the United States for short courses. This particular course, which had a heavy focus on poultry, combined in-classroom seminars with field visits to key poultry farms and feed milling operations as well as a local farm to see U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and their associated co-products firsthand. To ensure the technical skills learned during in-classroom seminars were properly honed, the team also undertook practical hands-on exercises in NCI’s Feed Production Center.

Once back in Tunisia, these students will join 11 other trainers in sharing their information and practical experience on feed production, formulation and animal nutrition with other feed industry professionals. To provide the necessary experience for the team to conduct such trainings with their peers, the short course in the United States incorporated teaching materials and practical exercises.

To date, more than 90 Tunisian feed industry professionals have undergone training at the INAT Feed Center, with expectations of another 100 more people to be trained before the end of the State Department grant. Looking to the future, the USGC is currently in the process of expanding the Tunisian Feed Center to become a regional training center for the Middle East and Africa region.

“The Council envisions the Feed Center to be a regional hub for feed manufacturing training for the Middle East and Africa, addressing the inefficiencies in feed production in the region,” Taieb said. “Future growth in feed demand in the region will ensure opportunities for the United States to expand or capture new markets for U.S. feed grains and co-products in coming years.”