Inaugural Presidents are marked by the first hundred days of their presidency. At Next Gen PFMA, we are proud to be marked by our first year in existence.
Through a bittersweet chain of events, Executive Director Cathy Alinovi became available full-time to pursue her passion for ensuring sufficient high-quality pet food is made available for pets. An association to represent the truly admirable pet food manufacturers, those the “big names” are trying hard to bully, harass, intimidate, out-spend and out-market… seemed to be the perfect place to start.
Face-to-face meetings with several high-quality manufacturers at Global Pet Expo 2016 was the inception of Next Gen PFMA. Quickly, within a month, legal paperwork was filed for formalization. Immediately, we formed a Board of Directors consisting of an attorney, a marketing expert, and a veterinarian, wrote bylaws and all that sort of stuff. We registered our association with the state and the feds. The paperwork was finalized one year later, in early 2017; resulting in federal 501(c)(3) status. This meant that retroactively, previous membership dues were all tax-deductible, providing benefits added benefit to our members.
However, paperwork alone does not make a trade association. Representation for the nutritionally defensible pet food companies, most especially our members, started right away through working group discussions. While the AAFCO policy is to wait two years until allowing new trade association representatives on working groups, we were permitted to participate from the audience at our first formal AAFCO meeting, and sit at the main table with all the key players by our second meeting in January 2017. In the intervening months, we participated in 6 working groups and over 30 meetings.
What was gained? Regulators are now coming to us to get word to small, nutritionally defensible pet food manufacturers.
In the first calendar year, membership tripled – meaning even more outstanding companies are being represented. These companies range from brand-new start-ups needing help with registrations and mentorship all the way to large, at least in the small pet food category, companies in existence for over a decade needing help with regulatory and recall situations.
Our executive director attended PCQI training for FSMA in December, allowing Next Gen PFMA to offer assistance on FSMA planning as well as potentially training offer training.
Finally, while all of this has been going on, we have an official business plan for the association. Its purpose is to attract new members, funding, and put in words all that we do for our members.
It’s been one heck of a first year!
Still in the works:
- A FSMA checklist for all of our members.
- A how to guide state-by-state for registering your pet food business (for start-ups)
- A conversation with an unnamed Department of Agriculture for regulations to allow raw pet food existence.
- Crisis management services for our members, for when you get those dreaded notices of potential recalls. (Let us be the first call you make!)