ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — Food safety and biosecurity were the key focus of the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) annual Equipment Manufacturers Conference (EMC) last week in New Orleans, Louisiana, US.

“The biggest message EMC attendees walked away with from this year’s conference was this: we can and must do better,” said Gary Huddleston, director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs at the AFIA. “By working together, feed manufacturers, equipment manufacturers along with facility design and build firms can do a better job improving their biosecurity and food safety programs, and as we heard last week, some of it starts with creating workplace cultures that prioritize these programs.”

The conference included sessions on how companies should consider the physical operations of their mills (i.e., their equipment designs and processes) and the value of their human capital — their employees — to achieving success in their food safety and biosecurity programs. It also offered attendees an opportunity to hear about the Washington, DC, US, political environment, and an update on feed machinery standards coming out of the International Organization for Standardization.

The annual golf tournament, raffle and matching funds from EBM Manufacturing raised $4,000 for the EMC scholarship fund.

“Since 2009, our EMC scholarship fund has grown and is now providing $3,000 scholarships annually at six academic institutions, supporting young industry professionals who will be the future of our workforce,” said Mike Schuster of Laidig Systems, Inc. and current AFIA board chair, in prepared remarks. “The AFIA Equipment Manufacturers Committee’s work has led to an informative, efficient, fund-building conference, and we are delighted today to add another scholarship at WVU in honor of Joel Newman, who spent his 50-year career in the agriculture and food industries.”

The 2022 EMC is planned Nov. 9-11 in St. Petersburg, Florida, US.