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MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Kent Nutrition Group, Inc., (KNG) of Rockford, IL, was announced the 2015 Feed Mill of the Year during an industry education program at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, GA. The annual award recognizes overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations and is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs newspaper.

KNG's Kent brand has served Midwestern livestock producers for more than 85 years. Its Rockford facility was built in 1964.

"This award is for our employees," said Tom Smolen, plant manager of KNG's Rockford operation. "The staff understands what is needed to be in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act and they take these requirements to heart. Winning the Feed Mill of the Year award is a direct reflection of their dedication."

"We operate our plant with an 'audit ready everyday' mentality. At KNG, we strive for excellence during every shift to make safe, quality products that our customers can trust to provide the best in nutritional value for their animals," said Smolen.

To ensure food and feed safety, the Kent Rockford plant is certified in AFIA's Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program and third-party Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).

The Rockford plant was named AFIA Feed Mill of the Year runner-up in 2012.

This year, the AFIA/Feedstuffs Feed Mill of the Year Award runner-up is Southern States Cooperative located in Valdosta, GA. Since 1923, Southern States has been a farmer-owned cooperative providing a wide variety of agriculture products and home supplies to the agricultural community. The Southern States Valdosta location has been in operation since Oct. 13, 1998.

"On behalf of Southern States, our members and the employees at Valdosta, we appreciate this recognition of our mill operations," said Larry Tabor, plant manager of Southern States Valdosta Feed Mill. "We at Valdosta are committed to providing our members with safe, quality-assured feed products and service in our distribution area. Our quality control programs, mill operations support and overall team of dedicated employees in the feed division are why we have this opportunity."

"We would also like to congratulate the Kent Rockford plant on maintaining an outstanding operation, and thank AFIA and Feedstuffs for recognizing the Southern States Valdosta plant as one of the top feed mills in the industry," Tabor added.

The Southern States Valdosta plant holds a certificate in AFIA's Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program and is third-party HACCP certified.

The Southern States Cooperative plant in Park City, KY, was the Feed Mill of the Year Award recipient in 2014.

"Kent Nutrition Group (Rockford) and Southern States Cooperative (Valdosta) were two of many deserving applicants who applied for the Feed Mill of the Year award," said Gary Huddleston, AFIA manager of feed manufacturing safety and environmental affairs. "Applicants were evaluated based on feed safety, overall awareness of food safety, quality, regulatory compliance and operating efficiencies. Both KNG and Southern States have exceeded in providing safe and judicious products."

Selection of the top plant starts with an online application process and concludes with personal visits to the top sites by an inspection team from AFIA and Feedstuffs. Final selection is based on the combined score of the application and personal visit.

The Feed Mill of the Year Award plaques were presented to the plant managers during the AFIA Feed Education Program at the 2016 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, GA.

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