ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) annual Equipment Manufacturers Conference (EMC) had the highest attendance rate since 2004, the AFIA said on Nov. 14. 

The conference in Amelia Island, Florida, U.S., Nov. 7-9, focused on “Developing Your People for Tomorrow’s Business, Today.”

Attendees kicked off the conference by raising funds for the Equipment Manufacturers Committee Scholarship Fund at the four-person scramble golf tournament. Participants also made donations through a raffle for a Bose speaker that was donated by Maxi-Lift, Inc. and individual contributions. In total, $2,665 was donated, up almost $800 from last year. 

The Equipment Manufacturers Committee Scholarship Fund is historically administered to students pursuing agricultural degrees at Kansas State University (KSU). It was announced at the meeting that the committee would expand the fund, adding two additional scholarships to selected colleges or universities. The new scholarships will be five-year commitments and chosen in the spring of 2014. 

AFIA President and Chief Executive Officer Joel G. Newman opened conference presentations with a detailed Washington update, including a discussion on the continually stalled farm bill, explaining that both the House and Senate versions include AFIA priorities. Newman talked about Congress’ dismal ability to work cohesively, the effects of the recent 16-day government shutdown and the significant regulatory burden that is being focused on the industry. He updated attendees on AFIA’s extensive project revolving around reviewing and commenting on the recently released feed rule. 

“The Food Safety Modernization Act feed rule is the largest effort AFIA has ever taken on in such a short period of time,” said Newman. “AFIA will, at best, have only five months to review the proposed rule, which is 405 pages long. We have established working groups and will be relying on the help of outside expertise to properly review and draft comments on the rule.”

Guest speakers included Phil Phillips, Sulzer Chemtech; Tom Henrich, AGRA Industries; Mike Smith, Ag 1 Source; Steve Narans, Behlen Manufacturing Co.; and Dr. Michael Johll, The Johll Consulting Group. Sticking with the conference’s theme, the speakers all touched on employee recruitment, retention and morale in the workplace. 

Next year’s EMC will be Nov. 6-8, 2014, in Palm Springs, California, U.S.