ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) released its annual “Our Industry, Our Promise” report in August, detailing the current state of the animal feed and pet food industries. The report details challenges the industry has faced during the past year, from May 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022, and steps the association has taken to help alleviate these challenges and address member priorities.

The report covers a variety of topics, including the business climate for US animal food producers, state and regulatory issues, animal food safety and health risk management, the United States’ competitiveness amid several global hurdles, priorities for agricultural trade policy within China, Vietnam and Brazil, and more.

“Global, and sometimes unexpected, turmoil continued throughout 2021 and into 2022, but through it all, our industry stayed strong, worked together and formed new partnerships along the journey,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of AFIA. “The AFIA serves as a means to speak with one industry voice about global supply chain challenges, the need for regulatory modernization and the importance of championing the innovative solutions that will allow us all to thrive.”


Growing industry

AFIA’s “Our Industry, Our Promise” report reveals the strength and significant growth of the US animal food industry. According to the report, more than 6,200 US animal food manufacturing facilities generated more than $297 billion in sales in 2016, as well as $102 billion in value-added contributions.

The report also detailed that $6.9 billion farm products were sold to pet food manufacturers in 2019, aiding in the production of 9.8 million tons of dog and cat food products, which generated $30.3 billion in sales. According to AFIA, 284 million tons of food was consumed by domestic livestock and pets in 2019, with Iowa, Texas and California consuming the most.

Regarding sustainability, AFIA reported more than 40% of ingredients used in animal food products were co- or byproducts from other industries in 2019. The use of these byproducts helped divert an estimated 113.6 million tons of material from landfills, avoiding the production of about 61.3 million tons of carbon dioxide and 7.4 million tons of methane emissions, according to AFIA.

“If you reduce methane by livestock by 30%, by food additives or different feed, or you capture the methane to biogas — take the manure and use it as biofuel — then you have made livestock production more sustainable,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary for the US Department of Agriculture.


Trade and supply

With production continuously increasing, trade has also boomed despite numerous threats to the industry’s supply chain. According to the report, the United States exported $15.7 billion worth of animal food products in 2021, equivalent to about 32.9 million metric tons. Roughly $2.1 billion dog and cat food products were exported from the United States in 2021, amassing to 923,000 metric tons.

Top export markets include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea. From 2020 to 2021, AFIA revealed that export value increased 22%, volume increased 2.7%, and exports to China increased significantly by 41%, showing strong potential for furthering trade relations with the country.

“The AFIA has been working to improve China’s animal production and distribution system through technical exchanges, building demand for US feed additives to enhance the productivity and profitability of China’s supply chain,” AFIA stated in its report. “The association is also collaborating with the US government to hold China accountable to its phase one trade commitments and calling for a reduction in retaliatory tariffs.”

091622_AFIA animal feed report_Embedded Vietnam Brazil.jpgAFIA is currently working on trade relations with Brazil and Vietnam. (Source: ©LUZITANIJA - STOCK.ADOBE.COM) As well as expanding trade with China, AFIA is also focusing on expanding trade relations with Vietnam and Brazil. Currently, the association has “boots on the ground” in Vietnam, where it is striving to educate consumers on the importance of complete-and-balanced pet food formulas and how US suppliers and products can help improve pet health in the country.

AFIA also addressed supply chain challenges in the report, noting that the association’s members have experienced issues with shipping via highways, railways and ports. According to the association, it has worked with other food and agricultural associations to communicate these issues to the Biden administration, which led to the Federal Maritime Commission gaining greater authority through the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in June.

AFIA members have also witnessed issues in their supply chain regarding the trucking industry. According to data shared by AFIA, the American Trucking Association (ATA) estimated that the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next 10 years, or about 110,000 new drivers annually, in order to keep up with economic growth. To help the trucking industry increase its workforce, AFIA helped establish a pilot program with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to create apprenticeship programs for 18- to 20-year-old drivers.

“The US Congress and administration took notice when farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and environmental groups joined us in calling for much-needed regulatory improvements and modern trade policies to ensure they are not left behind as other countries move forward with new feed technologies,” Cullman said. “The United Nations took notice when the US food and agriculture supply chain was joined by its counterparts around the world in calling for a positive dialogue about sustainable agriculture production, one that discussed real solutions and challenges and valued innovation, instead of one that looked to undo years of scientific progress.”

With the Russia-Ukraine war heavily impacting supply and trade for animal food producers, AFIA noted that it would continue to monitor the situation and work with US agriculture partners to alleviate trade challenges.

“Disruptions in the supply chain will inevitably stay with us throughout 2022 and unfortunately into 2023, but so too will our commitment to work with industry partners and governments around the world to resolve bottlenecks, identify new opportunities and navigate the global uncertainties posed by pandemics, production shortages and political unrest,” Cullman shared.

View AFIA’s full “Our Industry, Our Promise” report.

Read more news from associations and agencies in the pet food sector.