Revamping something old into something new
By KRISS NELSON
JEFFERSON – After the closure of a dilapidating feed mill at its Ralston location last summer, Landus Cooperative has announced they will be opening a new facility with the intentions of manufacturing cattle feed.
Mark Cullen, chief animal nutrition officer for Landus Cooperative, said the previous Ralston feed mill served cattle and swine producers in a 30 to 40 mile radius of the location, and the closing wasn’t very highly accepted by some of the cooperative’s members.
“When we closed the Ralston feed mill last summer, we experienced the customers weren’t necessarily happy with what we did, but we had to close it for safety purposes,” he said.
The new Beef Feed Center will be located in an existing facility on the north side of Jefferson. The 226,000-square foot facility was once used to produce and export soy flakes for tofu and has been sitting idle since 2010.
The plant, which was built in 1999, was acquired by the cooperative via a merger in 2012.
“It is a nice facility,” said Cullen. “We had some existing equipment in there we knew we could use. There’s ingredient storage inside and outside grain storage. We started looking at it and said with some investment we could effectively change it and make it into a beef feed manufacturing facility.”
The process for transforming the facility into the Beef Feed Center will be a multi-phase process.
According to Landus Cooperative, they are currently removing the soy flaking equipment and replacing it with beef feed mixing equipment.
Cullen said they are recycling the pellet mill that was previously in Ralston and moving it to the new Beef Feed Center.
“We can move it over there without a tremendous amount of expense,” he said.
He added they will also be moving their liquid cattle feed business to Jefferson. Currently, they manufacture liquid feed throughout multiple locations.
There is also some specialized feed the company manufactures that they will move to Jefferson as well.
Cullen said, long-term, the plans are to manufacture all kinds of feed to be able to cater to the entire beef industry.
“I believe the value long-term is a one-stop shop for anything you’re going to need for your nutritional needs for your beef or dairy operation,” he said. “For us, it’s exciting. It’s an opportunity to showcase something we believe we do well as we look at this facility going forward. We add value to the members at the member’s farm gate or to customers at their farm gate and it’s us saying we are dedicated to the cattle feeding business moving forward.”
Customers can expect bulk feed pick-up and delivery; grain bulk available; texturized feed immediately with pelleted feed to be available in the coming months and access to a team of nutrition experts.
“We will start with grain mixes, then we will be able to pellet feed, bag and have a toting system to have 2,000-pound tote sacks in addition to the liquid feed too,” he said.
Currently, Cullen said feed delivery is located out of different Landus Cooperative sites. Delivery and some of those operations will be moved to the new Beef Feed Center.
“We will start out using our existing trucking staff and Chris Wallace, who was running the Ralston feed mill, will transition and lead the project in Jefferson,” he said. “Long-term, we anticipate two full-time employees in the mixing and manufacturing and one or two customer service people in the office.”
Cullen said Landus Cooperative will also have a beef specialist in the country working with producers.
“We are going to earn the business through our beef specialist,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have the technical specialist like we do in the country. We have a slight advantage from a dairy perspective because we manufacture SoyPlus. We are going to have to earn the business. We know that.”
The Beef Feed Center is slated to open early this summer.
“I really think it gives cattle producers some flexibility,” Cullen said. “They will probably have some different ingredients they may not be able to handle on the farm by themselves. That allows us to bring value to them in that way.”
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