by Holly Demaree-Saddler
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Participants in the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program: Introduction to U.S. Pet Food – Serbia course attend the 2018 Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, U.S. Photos courtesy of KSU-IGP.
MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Withcontinual growth of the pet food industry, professionals strive to improve their knowledge of pet food production through various training experiences. This training was put into action for eight Serbian professionals during the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Cochran Fellowship Program: Introduction to U.S. Pet Food course. The course was held March 12-23, 2018 at the IGP Institute Conference Center.
“The Serbian Cochran team was a fantastic, highly skilled group of individuals,” said Brandi Miller, associate director and online education and professional development coordinator at the IGP Institute. “It truly embodied what the Cochran Fellowship Program is all about, bringing the right mix of individuals to learn and engage in agricultural practices in the U.S., so they can return home countries and put the skills to work.”
The training covered topics including an overview and introduction of U.S. pet food ingredients, extrusion and processing introduction, food safety in pet food, quality control in pet food production and innovations in nutrition of aging.
“The course combined both practical and theoretical topics,” said Dorde German, Komponenta in Serbia. “It gave me an opportunity to see what I really wanted to see. There’s new things that I want to implement in my own production as I saw yesterday in the plant, how to change some of things for my own production line.”
Eric Maichel, operations manager and extrusion specialist, gives an extrusion demonstration at BIVAP (Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program) during the course.
In addition to the classroom lectures and discussions led by Kansas State University faculty and staff, the participants also gained hands-on experience in BIVAP (Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program) and Shellenberger Hall on KSU campus.
“I’ve honestly never been introduced to American products as they are not present in Serbia because of the different regulations,” said Sonja Isailovska at SI Poljiovet in Serbia. “I really wanted to learn more about the ways U.S. production and everything about it in how its connected, which is all very interesting to me.”
The course was held at the IGP Institute for one week as part of the two-week program through the USDA. The participants also traveled to Orlando, Florida, U.S., to attend the Global Pet Food Expo.
“They were truly engaged and appreciated the exposure they received to the U.S. pet food market,” Miller said.