1129 views 12 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

Wanted: young feed professionals!

Jared Froetschner
Last week, I attended the AFIA Liquid Feed Symposium in Austin, TX. Amongst the trade shows that I attend on an annual basis, Liquid Feed is my favorite.

Last week, I attended the AFIA Liquid Feed Symposium in Austin, TX. Amongst the trade shows that I attend on an annual basis, Liquid Feed is my favorite. The liquid feed industry is a small, but vibrant piece of the US animal feed industry. While the show was great, one trend was readily apparent: the quantity of grey hair is rapidly increasing. At 35, I was one of the youngest attendees at the conference.

Without a doubt, the feed industry is aging. While the demographics in some markets are younger than the United States, I think it is fair to say that the global feed industry is facing a shortage of young talent to replace managers looking to retire.

Age brings experience and wisdom to an industry; youth brings energy and vitality. As a fairly conservative industry, we have an established pecking order: senior managers with experience and wisdom impart the lessons they have learned to their youthful, energetic colleagues. Much of this comes from our agrarian roots, where fathers patiently instructed their sons in the business and practice of farming until they themselves became grandfathers.

As I mature in our industry, I see fewer and fewer younger people choose the animal feed industry as a career. I think we have missed this trend, as we have been focused in the last 10 years on trimming costs amid a landscape of tight margins.

My biggest fear is that we are creating an experience gap that will be difficult to fill. As our senior managers and employees retire, they take valuable experience and knowledge with them; if we don’t have young people to fill the void, that experience and knowledge may be lost forever.

While I don’t have all the answers to this looming problem, I would like to present a couple of solutions. Traditionally, our industry organizations have primarily functioned as lobbying organizations. Maybe we should ask our industry organizations to increase their outreach and public relations role. I would bet that most university students today have no idea of the breadth and scope of the global animal feed industry.

We should also encourage the development of a forum for industry education and training. Our colleagues in the animal nutrition field have numerous professional organizations, journals, and accrediting organs that promote the open transfer of ideas and solutions. Feed millers do not have this type of professional forum, and yet our knowledge and experience are what brings the nutritional ideas and concepts to the marketplace.

It would be sad if much of our collective knowledge and experience were lost to the rapidly developing age gap. However, if we address this issue now, we can develop tools and strategies to not only attract, but retain young, vibrant talent to our rapidly aging industry.


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    Dr.Mohamed Fathy Salem

    Dear Jared Froetschner
    I read your article,and i get happy when you mentioned this statement " Age brings experience and wisdom to an industry; youth brings energy and vitality".I am willing for your cooperation.I am Plant Pathologist from Egypt,and i have an outstanding results in animal feed with a research group of Animal nutrition.I need your kind help to make these findings to see the light for production worldwide.I made an animal feed with highly protein content ranged from 14 to 32%.In addition,i produce in mass production a Probiotic in a liquid form with cheap method.I am sure that the two findings will change the feed industry worldwide.
    Finally,send me how we can cooperate together.
    I wait your reply.
    Best regards.
    Dr.Mohamed Fathy Salem
    Lecturer of Molecular Plant Pathology (Biological Control),Consultant of Organic Farming,Department of Plant Biotechnology ,Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute,GEBRI,Menufiya University,Sadat City,P.O.Box.79.Minufiya,EGYPT.
    Tel: 002 / 0106639267

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    Hay Kleuskens, Selko BV, The Netherlands

    Dear Mr. Froetschner,
    Interesting concern about the aging of nutritionists in the agriculture. And partly I agree, because the feed business does not look very sexy at all. If you are invited on a party and people ask you what you do and you explain that you feed pigs, then this is not a subject all people will catch your attention. My point of view is that we are actually in the process of making high quality of food for humans and that this business will be very important in the next 3 decades from now on. Food supply will become a problem once people in China are really taking off eating protein foods.
    So this make our discussion at the party more interesting and we also see that people from other industries can be motivated to work in our sector.
    By the way if you need more info about liquid feed, just send me a mail; we have been dealing with this since the 80's.

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    Dr R Y Angle

    Dear Mr.Froetschner,
    I agree with your point that there is going to be a big gap of experience people in feed industry.
    The younger people should try to find newer methods of feeding, one of which is liquid feed.
    We manufacture Mineral Chelates of Amino Acids ,from Soyabean NON GMO obtained by enzymic hydrolysis with L-tryptophan present, and Dioxin
    level of less than 1 Nanogram per Kg, but we find that people
    want to use powder chelates and do not want to use Liquid chelates even for chicks and piglets.
    The mindset needs to be changed and here motivation by younger people will play a great role.
    Please contact me and oblige
    DR R Y Angle angle@vsnl.com
    President, Priya Chemicals ,India.

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    Raymond P. Murombedzi

    I am a feed nutritionist (32yrs old which makes me slightly younger than Jared Froetschner) trained in Zimbabwe and working in Malawi. The problem facing feed professionals in Africa is more of a technology gap than an age one. We use techniques long abandoned in the West and everyone wonders why Africa cannot feed itself. Some of the latest innovative technology practised in Europe today if adapted to Africa or any other third world settings will increase productivity and hopefully reduce the need for the proverbial begging bowl and the ubiqitous NGOs. On that note I would be greatful if anyone could point me in the direction of scholarships for postgraduate feed training. +265 8 130 496, rpmurombedzi@yahoo.com

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    Rita Almeida

    Dear Mr. Froetschner. I’m writing from Portugal-Europe and I’m 28 years old. I’ve taken my University course on Agronomy with a specialty on Animal Production. Since my graduation I’ve been trying to work in animal feed industry and until now (5 years have passed already) I worked in several things, including:
    - Milk production (sheep)- studying the relation between the food given to the animals and their milk production
    - Pig production- Pollution control
    - Water consume

    in the search of the right job for me in the feed industry, but until now I only found closed doors. That’s why I’m writing to you, because even thought Portugal doesn’t have the size of the EUA, and probably don’t have space for many workers in feed industry, the age of the workers in the feed industry is also a problem, but no one is doing nothing about it. So as I can’t get a job in feed industry I’m asking if you can make a difference, and change the way of thinking of at least some of the feed industries … give the youngest a chance because there are some of us that respect the older and want to learn from them so then we could became better professionals. Thank you for this article.

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    Dejan Miladinovic, MSc - Fôrtek

    The Norwegian University of Life Sci. has educated 5 generations of feed professionals since 2002 through the MSc program in Feed Manufacturing Technology. Most of them are presently involved into the European feed business. Centre for Feed Technology - Fôrtek is their research site - playground for all kind of ideas, MSc theses... www.umb.no

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    Dr Arun Kumar Sharma

    Dear Mr. Froetschner,I am a nutritionist and is working in a Govt run feed plant for the last four year.I am 35 years old and is working round the hour to increase quality output.our feed plant unit was started with a corpus money of only 25000.00 and it remained one or two lakh till i joined the department.After joining being energetic i made this corpous money to 60 laks and started supporting university activities by giving money as an assistance for meeting out some routine expenditure.Having a devoted team of workers we could acheive this much target.Had we given proper facilities and some administrative support in decision making and purchasingand by adopting latest techonology and having hygenic and modern storage facility we would have raised the corpous money to crores of Ruppes.To run a feed unit in sustained manner the research and development wing strengthening is of utmost importance .The labs should we well equipped with latest techonology only then market can be captured succesfully.So energy(missionary zeal) coupled with experience and knowledge can only lead to survivality in this fast changing
    global world.
    Arun kumar Sharma
    Palampur,Himachal Pradesh

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    Dr. Manju

    Im 32 Year nutritionist in India working for an MNC . The basic problem here is instability of the feed industry making young & emerging talents to divert their carrier option. Even some get in to the prfession but quit in short term as they normally dont enjoy job - probably due to the dominating superiors ,not allowing younsters to make decisions ,even technically.

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    Paulo Tabajara Costa

    I agree: Animal Feed Experts are aging and it would appears that we do not have more young fellows to replace them.
    Why? I do not know, but it seems that, they do not care or do they do not want to dedicate themselves to a field that do not pay, whatever they thing is deserved by them.

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    Hossan Md. Salim

    Dear Mr. Jared Froetschner
    First of all I would like to thanks for your writing about young feed professionals. I agree with your topic and comments. On the otherhand, I think so many students have with good quality with feed professional but they have lack of experience. If we provide them some knowledge and skills properly, they will be good animal nutritionist in future. However, I am doing Ph.D in the Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology,Laboratory of Poultry Nutrition, Chungnam National University,South Korea. After completiing my Ph.D degree I want to work with you to get proper knowledge and skils and to boost up the lack of young feed professional world wide. I need your help to be a good Poultry Nutritionist in the near future to contribute myself in the field of Poultry Nutrition globally.
    Hossan Md. Salim
    Ph.D Student,
    Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology
    Laboratory of Poultry Nutrition
    Chungnam National University,
    220 Gung- dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-764,
    South Korea
    Fax: 82-42-825-9754
    Phone: 82-42-821-7857 (Lab)
    82-42-867-7857 (Res)
    Email: salim2003bd@yahoo.com/ hmsalim@gmail.com

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    Raquel Ravago-Pabalate

    Hi! I am an Animal Nutritionist, MS graduate looking for an opportunity in Netherlands. I wanted to go back to the feedmilling/ Animal industry as I am now connected in a media broadcasting as Marketing Executive. Hope that I will be given the chance to work or study in Netherlands specially in the dairy Nutrition.

    Thank you very much.


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    In our country, every year we have many agriculture graduates. But only some practice animal nutrition or production. This is because the money is in sales, not all technical people earn more than what the sales people did. And so there are also some who engaged in both field (sales and technical). There is also limited opportunities given to them that is why majority of the professionals decide to work outside the country, where they can have the exposure and the opportunities to learn more. Even if we are well-equipped with knowledge and everything (practical and theoretical), its sad to say that only a few managed to create a name in the industry.

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