ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Southern States Cooperative of Park City, Kentucky, U.S., was named the 2014 Feed Mill of the Year. The annual award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations and is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Feedstuffs newspaper.
Since 1923, Southern States has been a farmer-owned cooperative providing a wide variety of agriculture products and home supplies to the agricultural community. With more than 1,200 retail stores in 23 states, Southern States is known as one of the nation's largest agriculture supply companies, with more than 200,000 farmer-members.
Southern States Park City holds a certificate in AFIA's Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program.
"It is a pleasure working with staff members that strives to uphold such a high standard of excellence. This award is a true reflection of the dedication and diligence that my team not only meets, but exceeds each day," said Gary Huddleston, plant manager for Southern States.
This is the second time in three years that Southern States has been recognized as the Feed Mill of the Year award recipient.
Huddleston said the recognition is a "great honor."
The Feed Mill of the Year award runner-up is Kent Nutrition Group located in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S.
"This is a great achievement and much appreciation goes out to our hard working staff members that have made this opportunity possible," said Jeremy Ruckman, plant manager of Kent's Hagerstown operation.
To ensure food and feed safety, the facility is certified in AFIA's Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program.
"We take great pride in the work that we do and will continue to provide satisfactory products that meet our client's needs," said Ruckman.
"Southern States Cooperative (Park City) and Kent Nutrition Group (Hagerstown) were two of many deserving applicants who applied for the Feed Mill of the Year award," said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice-president of manufacturing and training. "Applicants were evaluated based on feed safety, overall awareness of food safety, quality, regulatory compliance and operating efficiencies. Both Southern States and Kent have exceeded in providing safe and judicious 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 the combined score of the application and personal visit.
The 2015 Feed Mill of the Year program will be open for applications in the spring.