USSEC sponsored the annual meeting and dinner of BEMEFA/APFACA, the national association of the Belgian animal feed industry, on April 27. Reflecting the bilingual mandate of public life in Belgium, BEMEFA stands for Beroepsvereniging van de mengvoederfabrikanten in Dutch and APFACA stands for Association professionelle des fabricants d’aliments composes pour animaux in French. The meeting took place at the historical Rodenbach Brewery in Roeselare, Belgium. Part of Belgium’s historic patrimony, the brewery was founded in 1836 and continues to produce one of Belgium’s most popular beers.
BEMEFA/APFACA Board Chairman Frank Decadt opened the meeting by thanking USSEC for its continued support of this event. He also took the opportunity to announce a “Save the Date” for the USSEC Belgium Country Meeting to be held in Ghent on November 21. Bob Delbecque, a well-known Belgian celebrity and facilitator, engaged the audience in an entertaining way, soliciting statements from people that covered the current hot topics in the Belgian and European feed industry, including GM, antibiotics in animal feed, changing consumer preferences, and the costs of the ever-increasing regulatory requirements. Participants asked how can they compete on the global markets when there is not a level playing field with their competitors.
The highlight of the evening, which was set up by a few comments by Mr. Delbecque, was the formal announcement of the new name of the organization. It will begin the legal and administrative process of changing its name to the Belgian Feed Association (BFA) with the process to be completed by the annual meeting in 2018. Using a name in English is common for Belgian companies who want to avoid any language related issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. exported $36.7 million in soybean meal to Belgium in 2016, a five-year high. USSEC’s support for this event strengthens the working relationship with the BFA, keeps U.S. Soy on the radar for the feed companies and end users, and generates a positive image for U.S. Soy.