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“Anyone can enroll our online course AFIA-KSU 550: Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing”

“More than 500 people from all around the world have completed the course. The targeted audience for the course is anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of basic feed manufacturing. This would include individuals new to the industry as well as seasoned veterans who want a better understanding of the bigger picture of feed manufacturing.”

Gary_Huddleston_afiaGary Huddleston
American Feed Industry Association (AFIA)
Director of Feed Manufacturing and Regulatory Affairs

As Feed Planet readers know well, American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Kansas State University (KSU) are providing a course in partnership on feed manufacturing. The online course is called “AFIA- KSU 500: Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing”. The curriculum pledges to provide the necessary qualifications to the sector. We had a talk with Gary Huddleston, American Feed Industry Association’s director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs about the headlines you may want to know about the course. Huddleston says the course, which was offered only annually at first, is now being offered quarterly due to continued growth and interest. He says although most of the students are American and Canadian; there are many students from a dozen of countries as well. He also says that they hear from many companies that lost work time and tight travel budgets did not permit them to send more employees for training; however this course fulfills this need in a cost-effective, convenient and practical way.

You are conducting a course called AFIA-500: Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing together with KSU. First of all, can you please give general information about this course?
Since 2010, the American Feed Industry Association has been partnering with Kansas State University to offer a five-week, online course, “AFIA-KSU 500: Fundamentals of Feed Manufacturing.” This course covers everything from how the U.S. animal feed industry has evolved to its current structure to the different steps involved in the manufacturing processing. For example, it covers the process flow from particle size reduction, to batching and mixing, conditioning and pelleting, boilers, post-pellet systems, packaging and loadout, and maintenance.

How did this idea emerge? Is it a push by the business side or the university? And, is there a sole mastermind of the project or is this a broader project developed by a team?
Kansas State University is the only U.S. university that offers a Bachelor of Science in feed manufacturing and is home to the renowned IGP Institute, which has a reputation around the world for being a center of excellence for international programs related to flour milling and grain processing, feed manufacturing and grain management, grain marketing, and risk management on staple crops (i.e., corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat). Given the institution’s prestige and expertise in the field of feed manufacturing, it seemed only fitting that AFIA, which represents more than 75 percent of the commercial feed and 70 percent of the non-grain ingredient manufacturers in the United States, would partner with the university to develop a course that provides a basic understanding of U.S. animal feed manufacturing.

This is not a classical course as far as I know from your announcements. It is online. How can the students/participants cope with it with no laboratories, no machinery etc.? What are the materials needed except for the internet?
Yes, you are correct that this is an online course, so students do not need to visit labs or use machinery to complete it. There are homework assignments as well as interaction with the assigned course professor.

Who is your intended population and who are your participants mostly? Can anyone just apply and enroll this course? Are there people from outside the USA?
More than 500 people from all around the world have completed the course, including the vast majority from the United States and Canada, and a dozen or so people from other countries–Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, India, Iran, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. Anyone can attend the course. International students are encouraged to attend, but it should be noted that the course is taught in English. The targeted audience for the course is anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of basic feed manufacturing. This would include individuals new to the industry as well as seasoned veterans who want a better understanding of the bigger picture of feed manufacturing.

We are in an age of innovations and Industry 4.0. Regarding this, what is the aim/goal of this course? What will it bring to the feed manufacturing industry?
Like most industries, it is crucial that the animal food manufacturing industry stay on top of the latest trends, research and technology to be competitive, ensure the safety of its employees, and streamline manufacturing processes to improve efficiency and quality of products. However, we heard from many companies that lost work time and tight travel budgets did not permit them to send more employees for training. This course has allowed them to improve their employees’ skills in a cost-effective, convenient and practical way.

Did the course draw enough interest? How did the intended population react to this innovative move? What kind of feedback do you receive from the industry and other universities?
This course is the only course of its kind. In 2010 when the course launched, it was only offered annually. Due to continued growth and interest, it is now being offered quarterly. I credit that to the two rotating professors, Charles Stark of KSU and Adam Fahrenholz of North Carolina State University, who provide in-depth training on all aspects related to feed manufacturing.

I am sure that all the feedback will help you make some assessments. Are there any future projects for the course?
We just completed our first course of the year but interested individuals can also sign up to take it in the next few months. The course is being offered: April 16-May 18, Aug. 27-Sept. 28, and Oct. 29-Nov. 30.

Finally, what would you like to add?
Although this course is not graded, those who complete it will earn a certificate of completion. Interested individuals should visit http://bit.ly/2pp8HHA to learn more or to register.

We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "“Secret of Success: High-quality raw materials and trained staff”".

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