ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) held its annual spring meeting virtually the week of May 11 to elect new board members, executive committee members and discuss upcoming projects and advocational initiatives.

The organization thanked Tim Belstra, owner of Belstra Milling Co. and outgoing board chair for AFIA’s 2019-2020 fiscal year, for his leadership and welcomed him as the next year’s board chair for its Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER).

“Over the past year, Tim has been a calm, guiding force in leading the association through the CEO leadership transition and the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said AFIA President and CEO Constance Cullman. “His guidance and support to the whole team has been exceptional and we can’t thank him enough for his service to AFIA.”

Additionally, Scott Druker, general manager and vice president of animal nutrition at Charles & Dwight Co., Inc., will succeed Belstra as board chair, effective through April 30, 2021. The board also approved Mike Schuster, vice president of sales at Laidig Systems Inc., to succeed Druker in May 2021 as AFIA’s board chair.

AFIA approved 16 new board members, each of whom will serve a three-year term on the board, as well as seven new executive committee members.

New board members include: Eduardo Lopes Alberto, DSM Nutritional Products; Eric Arnold, Bill Barr & Company, Inc.; Elizabeth Barber, The F.L. Emmert Company; Jim Gerardot, Kincannon & Reed; Tim Jacobson, Tier 1 Nutritionals; Mike Van Koevering, Ph.D., Elanco Animal Health; Mike Lennox, Kentucky Equine Research, Inc.; Mark Lueking, Cargill Animal Nutrition; Sean McNear, Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.; Jeff Pendleton, Hallway Feeds; Paul Phillips, Maxi-Lift Inc./Southwest Agri Plastics, Inc.; Chad Risley, Berg+Schmidt America, LLC; Rob Sheffer, Zinpro Corporation; Jason Summar, Hood Packaging Corporation; Kimberly Treanor, Foster Farms Inc.; and Doug Webel, United Animal Health, Inc.

New executive committee members include: Mike Gauss of Kent Nutrition Group, Inc.; Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.; Mike Van Koevering, Ph.D., of Elanco Animal Health; Mark Lueking of Cargill Animal Nutrition; Eric McMillan of Cactus Feeders; Lon Stephens of Co-operative Feed Dealers, Inc.; Dean Warras of Phibro Animal Health Corporation; and Mindy Whittle of Bayer US – Crop Science.

In addition to these appointments, AFIA hosted a virtual advocacy day on Tuesday, May 12, in which it spoke with Sonny Perdue, secretary of agriculture and head of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several other congressional leaders.

“USDA is standing with our farmers and ranchers during this national emergency while feeding individuals in need of a helping hand,” Perdue said during the virtual meeting. “Additionally, America’s food supply chain is showing extreme agility as we continue to adjust to these changes that have happened in a very short period of time.”

Congressional leaders and AFIA board members discussed supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as relief bills to benefit the animal feed industry. They also addressed rural broadband issues and worker safety.

“We are in uncharted waters,” said Rep. Jim Costa of California’s 16th Congressional District. “Food in America is a national security issue. Maybe people will now believe that.”

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), added, “We’re going to get through this, guys – there’s no other alternative,” said Roberts. “We are right behind you on the Ag Committee. We will persevere and get this done.”

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