Top feed mills lead the charge as new era takes hold

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Agriculture -

Hot on the heels of head­lines cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing from changes to an­timi­cro­bial use and high my­co­toxin risk, to biose­cu­rity threats such as African Swine Fever, a wave of ad­vance­ments at the feed­mill level is poised to help pro­duc­ers and their in­dus­tries ad­dress th­ese chal­lenges while tran­si­tion­ing to the fu­ture.

Feed mills and man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties have long held a prom­i­nent role in the fab­ric of farm­ing, ranch­ing and an­i­mal pro­duc­tion – serv­ing as a crit­i­cal cen­tral hub of ac­tiv­ity for en­sur­ing qual­ity feed, healthy an­i­mals and ef­fi­cient, prof­itable op­er­a­tions. To­day that role is reach­ing an un­prece­dented new level of im­por­tance as a new era be­gins for agri­cul­ture head­ing into 2019.

“I’ve been in­volved in the feed in­dus­try for a long time and for me this is the big­gest time of change and evo­lu­tion yet,” says Dar­rell Kim­mel, Man­ager of Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds. “We’re get­ting a lot more ques­tions. We’re be­ing asked to han­dle a lot more de­mands. Feed re­quire­ments are a lot more so­phis­ti­cated and tai­lored. But at the same time, we are ready. We have never had bet­ter knowl­edge, re­sources and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to help cus­tomers nav­i­gate the lat­est chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties, and get the best re­sults for their an­i­mals and op­er­a­tions.”

Proac­tive ap­proaches

Upheavals such as the changes to an­timi­cro­bial use in med­i­cated feed are gen­er­at­ing lots of talk on cof­fee row (the U.S. is still tran­si­tion­ing and Canada’s new rules take ef­fect Dec. 1, 2018). But th­ese are things that proac­tive feed­mills such as Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds ad­dressed long ago by choos­ing to op­er­ate an­tibi­otic-free fa­cil­i­ties. The same mind­set of em­brac­ing change, while proac­tively shap­ing the fu­ture, has ini­ti­ated a broad ar­ray of sim­i­lar ap­proaches by the Wes­taki­win, Al­berta-based team.

Led by top nu­tri­tion­ists such Bernie Grumpelt and Dr. Nancy Fis­cher, the em­pha­sis of the com­pany has al­ways been on uti­liz­ing the best knowl­edge, tech­nol­ogy and in­gre­di­ents to op­ti­mize re­sults. Op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance pro­duc­ers' suc­cess have come via con­tin­ual re­fine­ments in for­mu­la­tions, com­bined with in­creas­ingly tai­lored strate­gies to ad­dress the spe­cific needs of each cus­tomer in an evolv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

“Change is a con­stant and there is al­ways a need to con­tin­u­ally im­prove,” says Grumpelt. “But we have the ex­per­tise and tools to do that. With the pace of knowl­edge, tech­nol­ogy and science-based in­no­va­tion we see to­day, we are well equipped to pro­vide safe high qual­ity feed, and highly ef­fec­tive feed­ing pro­grams for an­i­mals at all stages of life.”

Right feed, right pro­gram

The trans­parency de­mands of the mar­ket­place con­tinue to ramp up. At the same time, the op­por­tu­ni­ties for nutri­tion- based in­no­va­tion have never been greater, says Fis­cher. “For us it al­ways comes back to the spe­cific cus­tomers we are sup­port­ing. Live­stock pro­duc­ers have a lot on their plates. They have a lot of re­quire­ments and de­mands to deal with. They need the right feed, in the right pro­gram, to get the best re­sults. We view our­selves as an ex­ten­sion of their team to help their an­i­mals and their op­er­a­tions achieve their full po­ten­tial.”

There are more de­tails and con­sid­er­a­tions in­volved to­day, she says. “But we also have greater ca­pa­bil­ity to get it right. The pay­off is that much higher be­cause of the grow­ing im­por­tance of feed and nutri­tion as fac­tors in man­age­ment, eco­nom­ics and mar­ket­ing – ev­ery­thing that con­trib­utes to the ul­ti­mate suc­cess of the op­er­a­tions.”

The pe­riod from early Novem­ber to the end of the year has be­come a ma­jor fo­cal point as there are new rules that gov­ern an­timi­cro­bial use. The move of many for­merly read­ily ac­ces­si­ble an­i­mal feed and over-the-counter an­timi­cro­bial med­i­ca­tions to the vet­eri­nary pre­scrip­tion drug list, has made it more com­pli­cated to ad­dress spe­cific health con­cerns.

At the same time, the spot­light on feed safety has in­ten­si­fied dra­mat­i­cally in the wake of threats rang­ing from African Swine Fever to sea­sonal my­co­toxin chal­lenges. Sci­en­tific ad­vances – many of which will be show­cased at up­com­ing in­dus­try meet­ings in­ter­na­tion­ally – have ex­panded the knowl­edge base and tool­box for feed and nu­tri­tional in­no­va­tions, in­clud­ing a ris­ing em­pha­sis on bio-based feed sup­ple­ments. Ad­di­tional key progress in­cludes en­hanced pre­ci­sion and tai­lored pro­gram de­vel­op­ment which also ad­dresses wel­fare im­prove­ments and re­duced en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print.

Feed­mill of the fu­ture right now

“At the cen­ter of all of this ac­tiv­ity, what you’re see­ing take shape is the feed­mill of the fu­ture,” says Kim­mel. “That’s some­thing we want to be not just down the road but also right now . . . . be­cause our cus­tomers and their in­dus­tries need that right now.”

To­day Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds fa­cil­i­ties are fully an­tibi­otic-free, ionophore-free and pro­vide a full range of both con­ven­tional and cer­ti­fied or­ganic feed op­tions to an ex­pand­ing cus­tomer base across Canada and the U.S.. Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds spe­cial­izes in qual­ity bulk and bagged feeds for beef, dairy, equine, poul­try, swine, goat, lamb and more. All feed­ing pro­grams are de­vel­oped through a com­mit­ment to align­ment with the lat­est ad­vance­ments as well as a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and lo­cal knowl­edge. In re­cent years the feed­mill has also in­vested in a range of mill and pro­duc­tion line up­grades in­clud­ing new state-of-the-art for­mu­la­tion and bag­ging sys­tems.

Ad­vanced biose­cu­rity mea­sures

Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds has also raised the bar with ad­vanced biose­cu­rity mea­sures and qual­ity con­trol pro­to­cols, along with the adop­tion of new lead­ing-edge nu­tri­tional, man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy. This en­sures con­sis­tent top qual­ity for­mu­la­tions and prod­uct, all pro­duced and de­liv­ered quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

As a mem­ber of the An­i­mal Nutri­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada (ANAC), Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds fol­lows biose­cu­rity stan­dards aligned with the ANAC Na­tional Biose­cu­rity Guide. Since 2003 they have also been a cer­ti­fied fa­cil­ity un­der FeedAs­sure, which is a com­pre­hen­sive feed safety man­age­ment and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram de­vel­oped by ANAC for the Cana­dian feed in­dus­try. FeedAs­sure was the first feed in­dus­try HACCP pro­gram de­vel­oped in North Amer­ica and one of the first in the world. To main­tain cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, FeedAs­sure mem­bers un­dergo an­nual in­de­pen­dent au­dits.

“There are a lot of mov­ing parts to­day when it comes to the feed busi­ness,” says Kim­mel. “Ul­ti­mately, you need to be able to ad­dress all ma­jor needs, be­cause all are crit­i­cal to get­ting the best re­sults and hav­ing strong mar­ket ac­cep­tance. Our aim is to keep ahead of the game with safe top qual­ity feed that checks all the boxes.”

Learn more about Coun­try Junc­tion Feeds at www.coun­try junc­tion­feeds.com.

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