ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. — On Jan. 30, the American Feed Industry Association hosted the Feed Education Forum on the second day of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The half-day forum addressed issues unique to feed manufacturers in three knowledgeable sessions. 
Keith Epperson, vice-president of manufacturing and training, AFIA, opened the forum, with an update on the latest regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and specifically the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 
AFIA committees will continue to develop comments in response to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) of 2012. Epperson noted the first deadline, Dec. 1, 2013, by which HCS mandates that employees exposed to hazardous chemicals must be trained on the new GHS prescribed label elements and safety data sheet format. 
“If you haven’t started already, you should already be training and preparing employees for what they will need to do as mandated by HazCom2012,” Epperson said.
Richard Sellers, vice-president of nutrition and feed regulation, AFIA, updated participants on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other government compliance rules including the Farm Bill, Salmonella, the ethoxyquin rule and inspection tips. 
“It’s not my Congressman…it’s your Congressman,” Sellers said about the polarizing political atmosphere and cited as one of the reasons the Farm Bill languished on.
Commenting on FSMA, Sellers explained that the U.S. Food and Drug Agency (FDA) does not have the $300 million needed to hire and train the estimated 12,000 inspectors it would take to properly enforce FSMA. 
According to Sellers, the feed rules are expected to publish in mid-February. Modeled after HACCP, any facility already participating in the AFIA Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program expects to be compliant under FSMA guidelines.
“We created Safe Feed/Safe Food nine years ago—we saw this coming,” Sellers said. “FDA said that if you’re in this program, you will meet the requirements of FSMA and your company will endure fewer and shorter inspections.”
Dr. Adam Fahrenholz, North Carolina State University, closed the program with his presentation, “Training New Feed Mill Managers Using Web-Based Tools,” in an effort to keep feed manufacturers well-informed of the latest industry trends and innovations in education and training. NCSU offers online and traditional courses such as a feed milling minor, feed milling certificate and a graduate certificate in feed service. 
Discussing the benefits of online education programs, Fahrenholz focused on how technology allows for the ability to customize how information is presented. Interaction such as a “one-on-one” environment and multimedia tools greatly enhances participant engagement. Additionally, the ability to use multiple subject matter experts (instructors) gives students the best information possible for one course. 
“I’m not advocating for this over onsite training,” Fahrenholz said. “Onsite training is very important and will remain so.”