CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) announced that Austin Therrell has been appointed to executive director on Sept. 7. Therrell assumed his role with the association on Sept. 6.

“Austin’s extensive regulatory and feed industry knowledge and involvement with AAFCO make him the ideal fit as executive director,” said George Ferguson, president of the board of directors at AAFCO. “He brings relevant experience and a fresh perspective to AAFCO, adding greater depth to ensure compliance with state and federal laws affecting animal food. We are excited to have him lead us and guide us.”

Therrell was selected among 60 potential candidates and is a well-established member and leader within the organization. During his membership with AAFCO he has served on the board of directors, co-chaired the Feed and Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Committee, supported the Pet Food Committee, and led several workshops to draft and revise feed guidelines.

“I first got involved with AAFCO because I wanted to connect and learn from other state feed control officials around the country that were doing the same type of work that I was doing,” Therrell said. “Early on, I knew that AAFCO was a place to go for institutional knowledge about animal food regulation — full of people and resources that would benefit our regulatory program in South Carolina.”

Therrell has held various roles during his career within the Animal Feed Regulatory Program at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA), including feed safety program manager. At SCDA, he directed the development and implementation of strategic improvement plans and a new feed registration system; expanded the organization’s regulatory authority; managed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) feed contracts/inspections; and implemented the Animal Feed Regulatory Program Standards (AFRPS).

“The partnerships I have made through AAFCO, and the things I've learned by getting involved on committees and workgroups, have played a huge role in my career in South Carolina,” Therrell shared.  “AAFCO has taught me a lot about animal feed, but even more about leadership, management and teamwork. AAFCO members have been there every step of the way to support and guide me, as I worked to build a strong feed regulatory program for the last two of my eight years at the SCDA.”

In his role at AAFCO, Therrell will report to the association’s board of directors and work alongside members, ensuring they have the tools and resources needed to succeed.

“I intend to bring a renewed passion for the important work that AAFCO does,” Therrell said. “My goal is to work alongside the board of directors to ensure that AAFCO members have the tools and resources they need to succeed, both within AAFCO and at home within each individual state. Being equipped to do our jobs successfully benefits regulators, the animal food industry, and ultimately consumers.”

According to the association, Therrell’s appointment will help guide and support its vision, mission, strategic objectives and initiatives as it seeks to promote a safe feed supply. Therrell will leverage his extensive experience in government and regulatory, food supply chain, feed regulations, strategic planning, and leadership to lead AAFCO into its next chapter of growth.

“I believe there's a growing focus on animal feed regulation in the United States and around the world, and I am excited to have the opportunity to work closer with our members, industry advisors and the board of directors to lead the association into a new chapter — especially as we focus on new and innovative ways to continue being the trusted leader that safeguards animal and human health,” Therrell shared.

“Over the next five years, I would like to see AAFCO continue to grow, in numbers and in member participation,” he added. “I believe this growth and engagement will position us to have an impact on a broader, international scale in the next 10 years.”

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.