Plant Manager, Gary Huddleston (left) accepts the award from Keith Epperson, vice president of operations for AFIA.
Plant Manager, Gary Huddleston (left) accepts the award from Keith Epperson, vice president of operations for AFIA.

Southern States Cooperative’s feed mill in Park City, Ky., has been named the winner of the 2014 American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) Feed Mill of the Year award.

The Park City Feed Mill manufactured and sold over eighty thousand tons of feed last year. Built in 1977, the feed mill is primarily a dairy, cattle and poultry location serving western Kentucky.

Keith Epperson, vice president of operations for AFIA, presented the staff with the honor in an awards presentation at the plant on Wednesday.

“The feed mill of the year is kind of the gravy for what you guys have done day in and day out without fail to make sure that everything happens,” he told the crowd that gathered under a large blue tent outside the facility.

The Feed Mill of the Year award is co-sponsored by AFIA and Feedstuffs magazine. Debuting in 1985, the program is designed to recognize overall excellence in feed manufacturing operations. Increased safety, quality, regulatory compliance, operating efficiencies and overall industry awareness of food safety are promoted. Ninety facilities entered the contest.

“The scoring is extremely tight at the top,” Epperson said.

Park City’s plant manager Gary Huddleston expressed his gratitude towards his diligent staff.

“This is a testament to the dedicated hard working employees that make it happen every day. I’m blessed to work with such a great team,” he said.

Huddleston introduced each employee to the crowd, one-by-one, comparing their team to the infamous 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team that won a gold medal.

This marks the second win in three years for Southern States, and the fourth time in seven years that the company has taken home the prestigious award. The company’s Vinton, VA feed mill won the award in 2012.

Since the award’s inception in 1985, Park City is one of only three plants to have won the contest multiple times, taking home the honors in 2007. AFIA has also recognized them in the past as the Truck Fleet of the Year.

“For years, they have shown a standard of excellence that gives them an opportunity to win every year. They have a great crew, great leadership, and are always trying to do the right thing for their customers,” said Southern States Vice President of Feed Division, Jim Moore.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) AFIA is the world’s largest trade associate representing the feed industry.

Southern States Cooperative has grown to become one of the nation’s largest farm and agriculture supply companies. With over 1,200 retail outlets spread across 23 states, they provide a wide range of farm and home supplies, including livestock feed, fertilizer, seed, animal health supplies and petroleum products. Farmer-owned since 1923, the Richmond, Virginia-based cooperative has more than 200,000 farmer-members. For more information, visit www.southernstates.com.