Connect with us for the latest news & multimedia content about IFEEDER projects.

Perspectives on a Year of Growth

Written by: Guest   |   June 6, 2024

General Fodder, stakeholders, leadership

By Mike Gauss, president of Kent Nutrition Group 

As I close out my term as chair of the Institute for Feed Education and Research’s Board of Trustees, I am filled with pride and gratitude for the incredible accomplishments of our entire team. IFEEDER has truly become a trusted resource for the animal food industry and our stakeholders. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our successes and recognize the areas where the team has made significant impacts. 

1. Industry Awareness and Engagement  

IFEEDER's mission is to advance understanding and trust in a sustainable animal feed and pet food supply chain through timely research and education, and it is perfectly aligned to the needs of the industry.  However, in the past, this mission has not been widely known or understood by members of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). This lack of awareness has led to spotty member and AFIA leadership engagement.   

This past year, IFEEDER’s executive director, Board of Trustees and the AFIA communications team put significant efforts into expanding awareness to major industry players and ensuring engagement.  I am proud to say that these efforts were met with openness and excitement, which yielded significant engagement expansion that will benefit us well as we proactively look ahead at future challenges facing the animal food industry and seek to tackle them with research and education. 

2. Sustainability: A Tangible Path Forward 

Sustainability is not just a buzzword—it’s a critical imperative for our industry’s future. IFEEDER has taken significant strides in advancing sustainability research and understanding.  However, as Board chair, it was important to me and the leadership team that sustainability was approachable to all of those that we represent in the animal food industry.  

To accomplish this goal, one standout initiative has been IFEEDER’s partnership with Iowa State University (ISU). Together, we’ve explored key sustainability issues beyond greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to ISU Professor Kurt Rosentrater’s 400-level agricultural and biosystems engineering course, we’ve gained valuable insights into areas like human capital, worker safety, feed safety, water use and energy efficiency. These insights will inform the animal food industry sustainability toolkit, which provides practical guidance for companies at every stage of their sustainability journey. 

3. Staff Excellence and Focus 

Our dedicated team at IFEEDER has been the driving force behind our success. From AFIA President and CEO Constance Cullman’s visionary leadership to IFEEDER Executive Director Lara Moody’s tireless efforts, we’ve fostered an environment of growth and collaboration.  Along with the significant communications work from AFIA’s Victoria Broehm and her team, we’ve proactively developed solutions and engaged with industry champions to inform a better future for the U.S. animal food industry. 

Looking Ahead 

Thank you to Dr. Leah Dorman of Phibro Animal Health Corporation and Chris Hostetler of the National Pork Board for their invaluable service, as their Board terms come to an end. 

As Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., vice president of global regulatory affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, takes the reins as the new Board chair for the 2024-25 fiscal year, I am confident that IFEEDER will continue to thrive. Let’s build on our achievements, deepen our impact and remain committed to sustainability, education and research.  

Here’s to another remarkable year ahead! 

Mike Gauss  

Immediate Past Board Chair, IFEEDER 
President, Kent Nutrition Group 

When you contribute to IFEEDER, you join industry champions and external partners shaping the future of U.S. animal food.