Heraclitus once said, “Nothing is permanent, but change.” We are experiencing profound changes every day in agriculture at an unprecedented rate. Animal welfare, shifting consumer demands, biosecurity, increasing regulatory requirements and shifting our mind set from profitability to sustainability, just to name a few. Many of these changes in our lives may cause increased stress and anxiety and inevitably effect our relationships with others as well as our agricultural businesses.
I have been thinking lately of how we might be able to retain some level of consistency through frequent changes in our farm businesses and how we begin t position ourselves and our business models to weather the storms of change?
At IFA, we are striving to stay on the cutting edge of the opportunities that change can bring to animal nutrition and feed quality. Here are a number of ways our IFA feed team members are working hard to ensure that the right changes are occurring at the right time.
TECHNICAL SERVICES TEAM
Our formulation team works together in order to translate with precision the custom formulas coming from the dairy nutritionists into production documents. With the high-cost of feed ingredients, it is very important to balance the diets to ensure that proper nutritional levels are supplied for each animal type and at each stage of the animal’s production cycle.
Custom formulas are constantly being monitored by the nutritionists in order to keep costs low, incorporate on-farm feedstuffs, and maintain a high level of production. These formulation updates are handled very professionally and timely by our team of professionals.
Our quality assurance team has an abundance of education and specific feed quality training to help ensure the feed we make is wholesome for the animals and above the standards set by our state and federal regulators. Our quality team also sends feed samples to outside labs in order to confirm that we are meeting, or exceeding, the nutrients on the feed labels of the feeds we sell.
IFA was among a group of forward-thinking feed companies that voluntarily adopted not one, but two, third-party feed quality certification programs. Indeed, you may have wondered what the certification emblems on your feed tags represent. They are symbols of our double certifications through the American Feed Industry Association for Safe Food Safe Feed (SF/SF) and our HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) programs. These programs ensure that IFA is following all of the current good manufacturing practices for the production of animal feeds.
An important part of our feed quality program is to verify the quality of our incoming raw ingredients. Our prequalified approved supplier program ensures that our buyers are quality-driven and our suppliers follow our high quality standards. As part of our standard operating procedures (SOPs), we inspect each load before we receive it into our mills. We regularly reject poor quality ingredients that do not meet our high standards. We feel it is our duty to protect our customers by only receiving quality ingredients into our facilities.
Our highly qualified team of nutritionists work tirelessly to ensure their customers experience the most success possible with their feed programs. This includes attending formal meetings were peer-reviewed research is presented to university and commercial nutritionists. In addition, IFA’s nutrition team periodically runs field trials on new products and supplements, evaluating their efficacy and cost effectiveness to livestock producers. Each of the nutrition team members raise animals themselves and have a supportive family which creates empathy and a real connection to each and every customer.
FEED PRODUCTION & TRANSPORTATION TEAMS
Our feed production and transportation teams work long hours to ensure our customers get the right feed, to the right place, at the right time. Our transportation team recently upgraded our trucks and trailers to help minimize maintenance costs and delivery costs. In addition, IFA has invested in new grinding technology and equipment to facilitate more grinding options and greatly increase our ground product offerings.
Winston Churchill stated, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” Here at IFA, we are constantly striving to make positive changes in order to effectively and consistently meet the needs of feed patrons through improvements in feed quality, science, milling, new technologies, and efficient feed delivery.
Written by Gary Bradley, PhD, Formulation & Quality Control, IFA North Region Feed, and originally published in the IFA Cooperator magazine (vol. 86, no. 1) Spring 2020.
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