ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) of Rockford, Tennessee, U.S., has been named the 2013 Feed Mill of the Year. The annual award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations and is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and “Feedstuffs.”
TFC’s feed mill is third-party certified in hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) as well as AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food (SF/SF) Certification Program. TFC employs 38 people who help to manufacture 120,000 tons of feed annually — 65% in bulk production and 35% in bagged feed. The feed is supplied to stores and dealers throughout Tennessee and bordering states. The company was established in 1945 and currently has 57 member co-ops.
“The workers never knew they were in a competition,” said Mark Rule, TFC plant manager. “It was just business as usual, but they were very thrilled to learn they were named Feed Mill of the Year.”
Rule said TFC operates on four basic fundamentals: use all your resources; develop a team philosophy; hold everyone to a professional conduct; and, most importantly, have an open line of communication.
The Feed Mill of the Year Award runner-up is the Hubbard Feeds facility in Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
The facility has 16 team members, including 10 production assistants, and is managed by Thad Olsen. It produces 40,000 tons of feed annually, 74% of which is delivered to customers and 26% is bagged.
Olsen said the recognition is a “great honor.”
“It was an honor originally just to be in the top three,” Olsen stated. “It is a great morale booster for the guys, and it will help them strive to work harder for next year.”
To ensure food and feed safety, Hubbard Feeds is HACCP and SF/SF certified, ISO 9001 and U.S. Food and Drug Administration registered, and has established a comprehensive written biosecurity program. The facility also offers an employee-run safety committee designed to train workers in safety techniques for both on and off the job.
“The winner and runner-up of the Feed Mill of the Year Award were two of the many qualified applicants that were considered this year,” said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice-president of manufacturing and training. “Our judges evaluated submissions on increased safety, quality, regulatory compliance, operating efficiencies and overall industry awareness of food safety among other things, and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (Rockford) and Hubbard Feeds (Rapid City) proved they produce safe, consistent and quality products.”
Selection of the top plant starts with an online application process and concludes with personal visits to the top sites by an inspection team from AFIA and “Feedstuffs.” Final selection is based on a combined scoring of the application and personal visit.