The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)–Cochran Fellowship Program: Introduction to US Pet Food course was held March 12–23, 2018 at the IGP Institute conference center at Kansas State University. Eight Serbian pet food industry professionals attended to improve their knowledge of pet food production through various training experiences.

“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 to their home countries and put the skills to work,” said Miller in a press release.                

The training covered an overview and introduction of US pet food ingredients, extrusion and processing introduction, food safety in pet food, quality control in pet food production, and innovations in nutrition of aging.

Building US and Serbia connections in the pet food industry

“The course combined both practical and theoretical topics,” said Dorde German of 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 in the plant and some things I’d like to change for my own production line.”

In addition to the classroom lectures and discussions led by KSU faculty and staff, the participants also gained experience in BIVAP (Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program).

“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 Sl Poljovet in Serbia. “I really wanted to learn more about US production, which is all very interesting to me.”

This 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 to attend the Global Pet Food Expo.