Meet Your Neighbor: Justine Seifert

Seifert's ideas land her among top young industry leaders

Justine Seifert has plenty of ideas about how to address challenges facing the poultry industry over the next five years.

Those ideas recently landed her among the top 30 young industry leaders in America gathered together to share and learn at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta.

Seifert, a senior nutritional support specialist with Marshall-based Ralco, was selected to participate in the IPPE Young Leaders Under 30 Program earlier this year. IPPE is the world’s largest annual display of technology, equipment, supplies and services used in the production and processing of eggs, meat and poultry and those involved in feed manufacturing. Every year, IPPE invests in 30 young adults from across the United States to recognize their professional leadership qualities and invite them to attend IPPE and participate in education programs to assist in their leadership development.

Program applicants must write a 200-word essay answering the question, “What do you think the primary challenges will be to the poultry industry in the next five years and how should the industry address them?”

Siefert said the question prompted a flurry of thoughts in her mind.

“When I was given the prompt to write my essay, my first thought was ingredient availability and pricing,” Seifert said. “With rising costs for materials and ingredients, manufacturers and feed companies may find it difficult to maintain their margins, resulting in increased prices to consumers. This may further decrease demand for poultry products. Additionally, limiting availability of certain ingredients can cause problems for poultry producers nutritionally.”

The cost of ingredients has steadily risen over time due to higher demand, limited resources and increased competition among suppliers, Seifert said. To address this challenge, she said, the industry must work together to develop new technology and solutions that produce more cost-effective ingredients while maintaining nutritional value to the bird.

“Ralco’s patents in essential oils and prebiotics are already proven to increase feed efficiency and manage health challenges in poultry,” said Seifert, adding the challenge is finding and sourcing reliable alternative ingredients. “Today, new oils are being thoroughly vetted and tested to ensure they maintain their effectiveness in birds while offering a more cost-effective product for customers.”

Seifert said her biggest takeaway from the leadership program was a quote from a presentation: “You can fix the truth, but you can’t fix a lie.” She said it’s easy for someone to lie when something goes wrong, but it’s harder to tell the truth about it.

“At Ralco, we believe in doing what’s right, and this was a good reminder,” she said.

Brian Knochenmus, CEO and president of Ralco, said he is glad Seifert had the opportunity to participate in the IPPE Young Leaders Under 30 Program, adding she is not the first team member from Ralco to do so.

“Our greatest asset is our people,” Knochenmus said. “The vision and dedication that Justine, Megan Gross and Melissa VanWesten — our award winners last year — bring to their roles has been truly inspiring. With such exceptional young leaders on board, there’s no doubt their fresh ideas will help us continue to innovate for our customers and propel us toward exciting times ahead.”

Ralco is a third-generation family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 40 countries.