The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Board of Directors wrapped up its annual spring meeting in Arlington, VA, late last week, where they heard from federal officials, advocated for key policy priorities impacting the animal food industry on Capitol Hill and conducted other official business, including installing new Board leadership and directors.

At the Board briefing on Wednesday, the directors heard from Tracey Forfa, J.D., director for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, and Tim Schell, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance, on the regulatory process for approving new animal food ingredients, especially those with non-nutritive benefits (e.g., reduced food safety pathogens or emissions), agency resources and more.

“We have pushed very hard to recognize that there are a lot of novel feed ingredients coming down – that is the future,” said Forfa. “We recognize that, and so we have been really working very hard to figure out how to make the process for reviewing those keep up with the times.”

Forfa said regulating products in 2023 with authorities based in the 1930s is a challenge that CVM’s lawyers have been working to figure out. In addition, the CVM has been working to bring technical experts on board to help the agency keep pace or stay slightly ahead of innovations in the regulated industries.

The Board also heard from Daniel Whitley, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, on two public-private partnership programs that promote agricultural products abroad – the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program.

“The programs have not had an infusion of increased funding – ever. They are still at the same [levels] they were at decades ago,” Whitley said. “The problem is our competitors see how well we’re doing with promoting our products, so now they are starting to do it. But they are starting to invest and spend more money than what we have.”

On Thursday, the Board directors met with U.S. Senate and House offices, where they lobbied for a legislative amendment to regulating novel animal food additives at the FDA as feed ingredients, instead of drugs; $5 million in increased funding for the CVM; and key Farm Bill trade and conservation programs that can help the industry remain globally competitive and sustainable in the future.

During the official business meeting Thursday afternoon, the AFIA Board of Directors recognized outgoing Board chair Mike Gauss, president of Kent Nutrition Group, Inc., for his leadership over the past year and installed Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., worldwide director of regulatory affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., as its new chair, effective through the end of AFIA’s fiscal year April 30, 2024. Gauss now transitions into one year of service as chair of the Institute for Feed Education and Research’s (IFEEDER) Board of Trustees.

AFIA Board directors meet with Rep. Brad Finstad

"I have worked with staff and members of this organization since the early 2000s when I began my regulatory career and am blown away by the work that you do.” Gonzalez said. “I am humbled that you have put your trust in me as Board chair over the next year.”

The Board also confirmed the appointments of the following individuals to serve three-year terms: Scott Baker, SEM Minerals, LP; Cory Berg, QLF-Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.; Nathan Bingaman, D1 Resources, Inc.; Jonathan Cowles, WL Port-Land Systems, Inc.; Susanna Elliott, Alltech, Inc.; Marlin Hoogland, D.V.M., Smithfield Foods; Paul Kalmbach, Kalmbach Feeds, Inc.; Steve Lerner, Ph.D., Chr. Hansen Animal Health and Nutrition; Allen McDonald, Global Animal Products; Steve Mills, Perfection Pet Foods; Rebecca Mowen, ADM Animal Nutrition, Inc.; Matt Podany, EBM Manufacturing; Tim Reed, Reed Mariculture; Karl Thoene, CHS, Inc.; Ben Towns, Arm & Hammer; and Ty Vaupel, Alfagreen Supreme.

In addition, the Board approved seven nominated individuals as additions to AFIA’s Executive Committee: Holly Bellmund, GLC Minerals, LLC; Rob Brock, Westway Feeds; Julio Contreras, Sweet Manufacturing; Dan Hennessy, Land O’Lakes; Dan Meagher, Novus International; Mark Poeschl, Furst Mcness Company; Dan Rice, Western Milling; and Wesley Wilson, Ag ProVision, LLC.

The AFIA thanks the following outgoing Board members for their three years of service: Eric Arnold, Bill Barr & Company, Inc.; Mariano Berdegue, Cargill Animal Nutrition; Kristin Bonham, DSM Nutritional Products, LLC; Katie Cook, Elanco Animal Health; James Gerardot, Jr., Kincannon & Reed; Tim Jacobson, Tier 1 Nutritionals, Inc.; Mike Lennox, Kentucky Equine Research, Inc.; Elizabeth Maier, Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition; Sean McNear, Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd.; Jeff Pendleton, Hallway Feeds; Paul Phillips, Maxi-Lift Inc./DuraPlas Inc.; Chad Risley, Ph.D., Berg+Schmidt America, LLC; Rob Sheffer, Zinpro Corporation; Mike Schuster, Laidig Systems, Inc.; Jason Summar, Hood Packaging Corporation; Philip Greene, Foster Farms, Inc.; and Doug Webel, United Animal Health, Inc.