ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. —The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Nutrition Committee hosted on March 11 the annual Nutrition Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. The “Protecting Your Investment and Sustaining Agriculture for the Future” meeting kicked off a week of events at AFIA’s Purchasing and Ingredient Supplier Conference.  

Four experts addressed attendees on various aspects regarding sustainable agriculture and how it pertains to the feed industry. Alan Romero, a professor at the University of Wyoming Rural Law Center, discussed water rights and how water scarcity will affect agriculture. He stressed with the right incentives, farmers could reduce consumption through improved efficiency. 

Dr. Ken Griswold, Kemin Industries, spoke about reducing post-harvest losses in grain crops, stating even a small percentage loss of dry matter in grains can result in big financial losses.  Dr. Marty Vanier of the National Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University  addressed biosecurity and protecting the feed ingredient supply chain, an important issue she related to “the hot topic of the week,” PEDv, or porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. 

Vanier told attendees preparing for the unexpected can greatly reduce the impact of calamities. 

“The trick is to identify and respond to the unknowns. How do you do that? Expect the unexpected,” said Vanier. 

Vanier also encouraged the industry to meet with local emergency response personnel and have a prepared communications plan should disaster strike. 

The symposium’s final speaker, David Schmidt, shared survey information to shed light on consumer trust in agriculture. Schmidt said despite what a boisterous minority would have us believe, taste, price and nutrition remain the key factors in consumers’ decisions in the grocery store.  

The 2015 Spring Committee Meetings, Nutrition Symposium and Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference will be March 9-13 in Orlando, Florida, U.S.