ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S.  — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Feedstuffs announced the four category winners for the 2019 Feed Facility of the Year (FFY) program.

The award winners include:

  • Western Milling of Goshen, California, U.S., for the commercial dry livestock feed plant category.
  • Koch Foods of Morton, Mississippi, U.S., for the integrator category.
  • Quality Liquid Feeds of Menomonie, Wisconsin, U.S. for the liquid feed plant category.
  • Trouw Nutrition of Nesoho, Missouri, U.S., for the premix manufacturing plant category.

“The FFY program aims to highlight excellence in feed facilities and I am very proud to say that each of these facilities has risen to a high level of quality and excellence,” said Gary Huddleston, director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs at the AFIA. “After months of thoroughly reviewing applications and touring facilities to determine these winners, AFIA is thrilled to announce them, and we look forward to naming the overall winner next week at the International Production & Processing Expo. We hope all applicants receive the value the benchmarking program tool provides in helping them on their journey toward continuous improvement.”

FFY compares and recognizes top-performing facilities in four categories: commercial dryfeed, integrator, liquid feed and premix, and from those, an overall winner is selected to receive the FFY award.

Feed safety are the common priorities and goals of the FFY winners.

Western Milling of Goshen, California, U.S., wins the 2019 FFY commercial dry livestock feed category. Photo courtesy of AFIA.

Western Milling, the commercial dry feed category winner, has had a goal of providing long-term value for its employees and customers for more than 80 years. Its Goshen, California, U.S., facility is one of the largest and most diverse animal food production operations in the United States. It produces more than 1.4 million tons of dry commercial feed annually. The facility currently handles more than 1,200 active and unique formulations.

In a goal setting process, Buster Freeman, director of commercial feed operations at Goshen, discovered additional automation would improve the operation’s overall quality and efficiency. The result was the incorporation of a WEM system that allowed for the automation of nearly all functions of formula import and management, scheduling and feed production across seven mixing systems. Since the project went live in 2017, Freeman has seen dramatic and immediate results.

“The bottom line is that our products are safer, higher in quality and produced more efficiently as a result of this investment in automation,” Freeman said.

Koch Foods of Morton, Mississippi, U.S., wins the 2019 FFY integrator category for the second year in a row. Photo courtesy of AFIA.

Integrator category winner Koch Foods’ daily mission is “a clean work area is a safe work area.” The Morton, Mississippi, U.S., mill produces nearly 800,000 tons of feed per year and provides feed for the company’s birds, making organization and cleanliness in the facility even more essential.

 The mill has a built-in vacuum system for cleaning, which has been upgraded in the past year to allow for even more effective cleanups. The new vacuum system is available to all levels of the facility and allows the team to carry the hose from area to area and simply plug it in. Frank Garczynski, mill manager, noted that with the 30-horse motor, it is very effective at removing dust.

 “Cleanliness is important not only from a safety and quality standpoint, but it also helps with employee morale and retention,” Garczynski said. “The facility is often visited by the Koch management team and potential and existing customers.”

Quality Liquid Feeds of Menomonie, Wisconsin, U.S., wins the 2019 FFY liquid feed category. Photo courtesy of AFIA.

Quality Liquid Feeds, the liquid feed category winner, has grown over the years from a primarily Midwestern marketer of liquid feed supplements to a full-line liquid feed and cooked low-moisture block organization that serves the animal feeding industry nationwide. It develops and manufactures liquid feed supplements. The Menomonie, Wisconsin, U.S., plant, one of 17 in the QLF network of manufacturing facilities, fulfills the customer-focused vision by focusing on continuous improvement.

 In 2018, the Menomonie plant completed a nearly $600,000 infrastructure project to help the team deliver better customer service. The improvement focused on increasing ingredient storage capacity, containment and handling and production process efficiency while expanding custom formulations to meet individual customers’ needs. QLF also has its own fleet of trucks and trailers. Nick Brandon, the Menomonie plant manager for most of 2019, feels it provides for a better experience for customers when they do their own trucking and hauling.

 “What makes QLF outstanding is the excellent customer service we provide,” Brandon said. “We are available for customers of every size, from small operations all the way up to large corporations.”

Trouw Nutrition of Neosho, Missouri, U.S., wins the 2019 FFY premix category. The facility was also the 2016 Feed Facility of the Year overall and premix category winner. Photo courtesy of AFIA.

Premix category winner Trouw Nutrition’s Neosho, Missouri, U.S., mill focuses on providing safe, high-quality blends and ingredients to the pet food industry. The mill employs extensive internal quality control procedures, so every premix is evaluated and touched by the facility’s staff an average of 101 times before heading to a customer.

 Plant manager Doug Vanjoff said the facility’s computer-controlled systems for in-process analysis, quality control and strict on-site quality assurance programs are designed to satisfy the highest industry standards. Since Trouw Nutrition acquired the facility in 2007, the Neosho mill has received more than $7 million in upgrades.

“Combined with our commitment to procuring only the finest ingredients, we are fully committed to protecting our customers’ brands and ensuring pets receive the safest, highest-quality food,” Vanjoff said. “Our team focuses 100% on animal well-being and safety. We pride ourselves on taking the necessary steps to confirm ingredients and finished products to meet or exceed our customers’ standards.”

The overall FFY winner will be announced Jan. 29 during AFIA’s Feed Production Education Program, which will be held as part of IPPE in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Jan. 28-30.