ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. — Koch Farms’ feed mill in Morton, Mississippi, U.S., was named the 2019 Feed Facility of the Year during the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Feed Education Program on Jan. 29 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Frank Garczynski, plant manager, accepted the award on behalf of the 22 employees at the Koch Farms facility, which produces 800,000 tonnes of product annually serving more than 400 farms throughout Mississippi. It marked the second straight year that the Morton plant was named the mill of the year in the integrator category by the AFIA.
“Everyone at our plant works together and the end result is something really nice,” Garczynski said.
Gary Huddleston, director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs at the AFIA, presented the award to Garczynski. Huddleston praised the Koch Farms feed mill for its excellent housekeeping, its innovative biosecurity measures and for maintaining a positive employee culture.
“It made me want to go back and be a plant manager again when I toured this facility,” Huddleston said. “I used to tell everyone back when I was plant manager that I had the cleanest plant of anybody. I prided myself on that but, Frank, you make me jealous.
“You can literally walk through this plant with white gloves and not get any dust on them, which is just unheard of in an integrated facility that does that kind of tonnage.”
The Morton mill was built in 2009, and Garczynski noted that many of his employees have been with Koch Farms longer than that.
“Some came from old mill,” said Garczynski, who has been in agriculture for 40 years, including 35 in the feed industry. “They never had really gotten any recognition. They’ve been expected to do their job and have done a fine job at that. Today they’re grinning in Morton, Mississippi.”
The plant, which operates 24 hours a day, five days a week, produces about 125 semi-truck loads of feed per day.
Located in a region that has dealt with avian influenza, the Morton plant is known for going to great lengths to ensure that its feed product is not compromised. In 2015, it added a biosecurity spray station that disinfects trucks leaving and entering the facility.
“They have a strong focus on biosecurity,” Huddleston said. “If there’s a disease challenge, they are ready for it. It’s a very unique system they’ve got there.”
The annual AFIA 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.
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 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 Koch Farms, which won the integrator category, the other winners were:
- Western Milling of Goshen, California, U.S., for the commercial dry livestock feed plant 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,” Huddleston said.
The AFIA education program, which is part of the weeklong International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, also included presentations and discussions on a wide variety of regulatory issues impacting the U.S. feed industry.
The AFIA also announced it is nearing completion of phase one of its update of the Feed Manufacturing Technology (FMT) book. It will be available online for the first time, starting in 2020.
Offering the contents of the book online will make the FMT more accessible and easier for the AFIA to make updates, said Huddleston, who refers to the publication as the “feed industry Bible.”
The new FMT, last updated in 2010, will be available to AFIA members online for $299, with a per year renewal price of $50. The print version plus printed copy is available to members for $349 and $50 for annual renewal. Discounts are available for bulk purchases (25 or more) both online and in print. For more information, visit www.afia.org.