ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) awarded Richard Sellers with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the animal feed and pet food industries. Leah Wilkinson, vice president of public policy and education at the AFIA, presented Sellers with the award at the association’s Board of Directors meeting on May 17.

AFIA’s Distinguished Service Award is the association’s highest honor. The award recognizes “elite” members of the US animal food industry who have provided support to the AFIA and overall industry throughout their careers.

Sellers originally joined the AFIA in 1991, during which time he oversaw legislative and regulatory initiatives and helped the association expand until his retirement in 2018. He served as the industry’s advocate, relaying information to the AFIA from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state feed control agencies, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and Congress, helping AFIA members ensure compliance with state and federal feed regulations. Sellers also served as the contact for AFIA Aquaculture, Nutrition and Feed Regulatory Committees.

“Richard played a major role in shaping the AFIA into the successful organization that it is today,” Wilkinson said. “Richard prided himself on ensuring that our industry’s voice was heard and considered during several shifts in regulatory programs. No one has provided as much expert advice to the animal food industry over their career as Richard Sellers.”

Alongside his work with AFIA, Sellers served as an industry advocate, helping with the Animal Drug Availability Act, Veterinary Feed Directive and the Food Safety Modernization Act. He assisted the industry during the finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Europe, resulting in feed ban regulations, and supported the industry when BSE was later found in the United States in 2003. He also aided in the development of AAFCO’s current model pet food regulations.

Sellers is a registered professional animal scientist and currently serves in a leadership capacity at the Washington, DC, chapter. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in animal sciences.

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