ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) four category winners for the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year (FFY) program are ADM Animal Nutrition of Cordele, Georgia, as the winner of the commercial dry livestock feed plant category; Sanderson Farms of Collins, Mississippi, as the winner of the integrator category; Westway Feed Products of Dimmit, Texas, as the winner of the liquid feed plant category for the second consecutive year; and Animix LLC of Juneau, Wisconsin, as the winner of the premix manufacturing plant category.

“Each of these facilities has shown it is deserving of being at the top of its respective category in the 2017 Feed Facility of the Year program,” said Gary Huddleston, director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs at the AFIA. “After months of reviewing applications and touring facilities to determine these winners, AFIA is thrilled to announce them, and we look forward to naming the overall winner later this month at the International Production & Processing Expo.”

Formerly the Feed Mill of the Year award, the AFIA and Feedstuffs modified the program in 2016, and it is now recognized as a first-class benchmarking program for the animal food industry. Representing each of the several types of feed manufacturing facilities within AFIA’s membership, the improved format compares and recognizes top-performing facilities in four categories: commercial dry livestock, integrator, liquid feed and premix. From those, the FFY award is selected.

The overall FFY winner will be announced Jan. 31 during AFIA’s Feed Production Education Program, which will be held as part of IPPE, happening in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Jan. 30-Feb. 1. 

ADM Nutrition
Photo courtesy of AFIA.
ADM Animal Nutrition manufactures around 40,000 tons of feed annually, mostly for equine and beef cattle, but also for poultry, swine, dairy cattle, deer, gamebirds, rabbits and more. Safety is a top priority at the facility, with meetings held each morning and at each shift change to remind employees of the importance of good safety practices. The facility also focuses on quality — all ingredients are weighed and analyzed upon arrival, and the plant will turn away ingredients that do not meet its standards.

“Cheap in, cheap out,” said plant manager Johnny Childers. “We’ll be out of an ingredient before we will settle for bad quality.”

Photo courtesy of AFIA.
Sanderson Farms’ Collins facility produces more than 400,000 tons of poultry feed each year. As one of Sanderson Farms’ eight feed mills, the facility processes 455 acres-worth of corn each day. It also serves as the grain delivery point for the company’s Laurel, Mississippi, facility.

Sanderson Farms focuses on boosting employee engagement and promoting morale through daily conversations about safety and providing employees with personal attention. Facility personnel are encouraged to offer suggestions for improvement while reviewing and implementing changes.

Feed mill manager William “Bill” Bray said Sanderson Farms reviews a variety of metrics daily, weekly, quarterly and annually to maximize efficiency and maintain or increase performance. These metrics include inbound ingredient specifications, ingredient moisture, mixer analysis on specified ingredients, weekly tons of feed produced, labor costs, feed conversion rates, utility usage and performance, and delivery costs.

Photo courtesy of AFIA.
Westway Feed Products supplies liquid feed solutions globally, providing customers with resources, services, technical support and a collaborative culture to understand and meet their needs. The Dimmitt facility produces an average 94,000 tons annually and in 2017, saw a 30% growth in tonnage over its previous fiscal year. Plant manager Phil Thomas is committed to making the Dimmitt plant one of Westway’s best. With a team of only four, the plant has a robust safety program, including monthly trainings and safety meetings.

 “We have accomplished a lot in the past few years, including significant capital improvements, cost per ton advantages, greater employee engagement and an overall production increase,” Thomas said. “This team just knows how to get it done.”

Photo courtesy of AFIA.
Animix LLC is a manufacturer of vitamin and mineral premixes and supplements oriented to customer production and marketing. With 4,240 tons produced annually, Animix focuses on biosecurity, safety and technology. The company has strict quality control standards and trains all employees to be Qualified Individuals upon hire. The company also has a committee of six individuals who meet monthly to discuss safety and walk the facility to look for safety concerns and improvements.

“Animix is known by its customers as a responsive and reliable supplier of high-quality products,” said Janusz Sowinski, president and owner of Animix.

The AFIA and Feedstuffs have conducted the FFY, and its predecessor program, since 1985, recognizing 70 total companies for outstanding performance in animal food manufacturing.