Purpose Defined for the UFC Feed Division By Steve LeBrun, Vice President of Feed
At this year’s UFC annual meeting, the theme was “Purpose Defined.” In other words, “Why do we do what we do?” This topic was chosen to help our patrons understand some of the thought processes that we apply before investing in projects or services. It had me reflecting on how we in the Feed Division define our purpose.
bviously our purpose is to make feed and get it delivered. When the Klossner mill was built in 1995, that was pretty much it. But as time passed, that basic purpose has continued to evolve into what it is today: producing safe and wholesome food for people. The livestock and feed industry has gone through 20 years of intensive growth and regulatory change. The consumer now drives the market with demands for safe meat and milk for their families. Consumers also have concerns about the welfare of our animals. Feed is now considered (indirectly) food for people because it is consumed by the animals that provide the food. This has driven both livestock producers and feed suppliers to accept more responsibility for meeting these demands and concerns. When faced with challenges, the UFC Feed Division could do one of two things: 1) Just do the minimum needed to get by, or 2) embrace the change and develop programs that give our patrons an advantage in the market. We have always chosen the second option. Some of the processes we started years ago are coming into play as we now are complying with the Veterinarian Feed Directive (VFD) that became effective Jan 1. Starting five years ago, we also developed a very rigorous Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program in anticipation of meeting the new feed industry regulations that will take effect over the next year. We are in compliance with all of those regulations and more. Some of our patrons have marketing contracts for their livestock or milk. They and their processors audit us for quality controls and documentation. We also have a process to
UFC has a process to address biosecurity in our mills and delivery trucks to avoid the movement of diseases.
address biosecurity in our mills and delivery trucks to avoid the movement of diseases, software to track feed use by each farm and a continuous monitoring of incoming ingredients. Recently, we held a series of meetings to educate our patrons on how to comply with the new VFD regulations. Last year, between UFC’s three mills, we hosted 11 visits by federal, state and independent auditors. Each one monitors our compliance to their specific requirements. We gladly participate in these, as it only helps to solidify our programs going forward. Most importantly, we have a staff of people dedicated to making all of these things happen each and every day. These people include operations, delivery, sales and management. We have been blessed with some of the best talent in the industry. Our task is to provide them with the training and tools necessary to accomplish all we have been talking about. Allow me to define our purpose again—this time in a little more detail. It is to constantly look into the future and anticipate what our producers will need from the UFC Feed Division in one, five and 10 years. We need to have that ready so they can participate in new market opportunities and be confident that UFC will help them stay in compliance. There is no doubt in my mind that the next 20 years will be just as full of opportunities as the last 20 years. ●
Feed is now considered (indirectly) food for people because it is consumed by animals that provide the food.
Fieldviews is a publication of United Farmers Cooperative located in Southern Minnesota.