ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Feedstuffs announced on Feb. 26 that applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Feed Mill of the Year award. 
The program, which names a winner and a runner-up, recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations emphasizing safety, quality, regulatory compliance, operating efficiencies and overall industry awareness of food safety. 
“Year after year, the Feed Mill of the Year awards program continues to grow. Increasingly, firms are finding value in being able to compare internal processes against those of other participating feed mills,” said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice-president of manufacturing and training. “For this reason, any feed mill concerned about inspections and other regulations are encouraged to apply.” 
One of the benefits to applying for the award is that each applicant receives benchmarking information at the end of the competition, regardless of status by the end of the competition. Many cite this as the top reason for applying. Companies can use the feedback to improve their facility in the areas of safety, quality, efficiency, housekeeping and government compliance. 
Southern States – Roanoke, Vinton, Virginia, U.S., was named the 2012 Feed Mill of the year, while Kent Nutrition, Rockford, Illinois, U.S., was named runner-up. 
“If you honestly answer all the questions, it leads to a better facility. It may take several years of improvements to be able to answer them properly, but with the feedback data you receive in return, you can track your progress. I’ve never understood why every feed mill does not enter the contest,” said Dave Jones, manager of the winning 2012 facility. 
Participation is limited to feed mills with current AFIA memberships. To apply for the 2013 program, please complete the online application. Once applications are processed and scored, site visits to the top finalists by an inspection team from AFIA and Feedstuffs will occur. Final selection is based on a combined scoring of the application and personal visit. The winner will be announced in the fall.
The application can also be found on the homepages of AFIA ( and Feedstuffs ( The application fee for the program is $35 per facility. Companies who want to enter multiple facilities must pay the fee for each. Applications are due by April 1. 
The winner and the runner-up will be permitted to use appropriate logos for one year to promote their accomplishments. The top two facilities also receive features in the AFIA Journal and Feedstuffs. 
Questions specific to the application may be directed to Keith Epperson at 1.703.558.3568. For other questions, contact Sarah Novak, AFIA vice-president of membership and public relations at 1.703.558.3574.