ARLINGTON, VA.  — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) board of directors installed Leigh Ann Sayen, chief executive officer of The Peterson Co., as its new chair during its annual spring meeting from May 15 to 16, when the board conducted official business, chose leadership and advocated for animal food industry policy priorities on Capitol Hill.

“I thank you for the trust you have placed in me over the next year, representing the AFIA at the national and international levels, and for the support from previous board chairs and fellow directors as I enter this role,” Sayen said. “It has been wonderful getting to know the new directors this week and an inspiring experience to see our board leadership standing up for the industry on Capitol Hill. There is always more work to do to advance the animal food industry’s noble cause of feeding the world more sustainably.”

Sayen succeeds Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., vice president of global regulatory affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., who now transitions into one year of service as chair of the Institute for Feed Education and Research’s (IFEEDER) board of trustees. During his year as AFIA chair, Gonzalez oversaw the planning and execution of the Executive Leadership Summit and Rising Leaders program, which provided a forum for member discussions on key topics facing the animal food industry and the future leaders of the industry.

“The AFIA had many successes this past year, and many before that, from the continued legislative, regulatory and trade policy work, planning of various member education and engagement opportunities, and the growing level of respect for IFEEDER,” Gonzalez said. “I have a lot of respect for this organization, the staff and members, and it has been my honor to represent all of you and pay it back to this industry we all love.”

As part of its regular business meeting, the board voted to accept the nomination of Dan Meagher, president and chief executive officer of Novus International, Inc., to become chair-elect of the organization for the 2025-26 AFIA fiscal year.

The board also confirmed the appointments of the following to serve three-year terms: Todd Armstrong, Ph.D., Phibro Animal Health Corp.; Eric Arnold, Bill Barr & Company, Inc.; Mariano Berdegue, Ph.D., Cargill Animal Nutrition; Kristin Bonham, dsm-firmenich; Nicholas Braden, Wilbur-Ellis Pet Nutrition; Brent Brinegar, Lincoln Premium Poultry; Christi Brown, Zinpro Corp.; Katie Cook, Elanco Animal Health; Raj Kasula, DVM, Wenger Feeds, LLC; Sean McNear, Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd; Terry Medemblik, Walinga USA; David Probert, International Ingredient Corp.; Chad Risley, Ph.D., Berg +Schmidt America, LLC; Apoorva Shah, SAM Nutrition; and David Stephens, Seminole Feed. 

The board approved eight additional members to its 15-member AFIA Executive Committee, which now includes: Arnold; Holly Bellmund, GLC Minerals, LLC; Berdegue; Rob Brock, Westway Feed Products LLC; Julio Contreras, Sweet Mfg. Co.; Cook; Gonzalez; Jonathan Griffin, Balchem Corp.; Meagher; Medemblik; Matt Podany, EBM Mfg.; Mark Poeschl, Furst-McNess Co.; Daniel Rice, Western Milling; Kevin Schluender, Land O’Lakes; and Karl Thoene, CHS Inc. 

The AFIA also thanked outgoing board members for their three years of service: John Akridge, MFA Inc.; Scott Anderson, California Pellet Mill; Kerry Courchaine, Darling Ingredients, Inc.; Gerry Daignault, The Maschhoffs LLC; Brandon Dacey, Kemin Industries Inc.; Mike Gauss, Kent Nutrition Group, Inc.; Frank Goode, ILC Resources; David Hansen, Selko USA LLC; Scott Lovin, AgState; Lisa Norton, BioZyme Incorporated; Gisele Santos Bin, BASF Corp.; Ted Williams, D&D Ingredients LLC; and Wesley Wilson, Ag ProVision, LLC.

The spring meeting included the directors spending time with more than 35 US Senate and House offices, advocating for several legislative priorities on behalf of the total feed industry such as the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development Act (Innovative FEED Act), Enteric Methane Innovation Tools for Lower Emissions and Sustainable Stock Act (EMIT LESS Act), Securing American Agriculture Act, Sound Science for Farmers Act, and the farm bill.

Read more news from associations and agencies in the pet food sector. 

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