ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — Steve Kopperud, former staff member of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), died on Oct. 19 of a sudden and unexpected arrhythmia. He was 69 years old.

He was senior vice president of legislative affairs at the AFIA for more than 20 years and was a government affairs consultant for almost 15 years, before officially retiring in 2017. He also founded the Animal Industry Foundation, now the Animal Agriculture Alliance, in the 1980s as a forum for producer and industry organizations to counter the rising public relations and legislative challenges of anti-meat activists.

“Steve loved the association and its members and was proud to represent them in DC for so many years, having accomplished many policy goals for the industry,” said Leah Wilkinson, vice president of public policy and education at the AFIA. “His knowledge, leadership and mentorship will be missed by all of the AFIA staff, his many, many connections around town and throughout the feed industry.”

Kopperud was also a reporter before joining the AFIA. He reported for the Minneapolis Star and the San Diego Tribune. He was also the former Washington bureau chief for Mill Publishing/American Broadcasting Corp’s publishing division where he wrote for Feedstuffs.

“Steve’s knack for storytelling would only be outdone by his talent as a journalist, demonstrated in his bi-weekly 8-page Washington Update articles for FeedGram,” Wilkinson said. “His passion for all things politics, policy and agriculture were second to none.”

Kopperud had been working to establish a scholarship at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. The scholarship is expected to become final by the end of the year and will be the primary designated memorial.

Any memorial gathering will be delayed until the end of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, more information will be shared as it becomes available.