Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 26

26 ❙ FeedStrategy
FEED INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION

produce custom feeds for perhaps a half-dozen clients.
As commercial companies grow larger, the small
mills, Stark says, are getting smaller, with some farms
opting to outright buy or build a dedicated mill to meet
their needs. This is particularly common among swine
producers, which CoBank identified as a key driver of
growth in the feed industry.
This means there are options for small mills worried
about their ability to compete with larger companies -
whether they want to reinvent themselves or whether they
prefer to exit the industry entirely.
"There is an opportunity there for those who are
looking for it," Ehmke says. "The future is going to be
different from what we have had in the past, but that goes
back to your deal on change - do you see change as a
threat or an opportunity?"

Trouble finding new management
With succession planning proving problematic for feed
mills as well as farmers, many mills are opting to sell or
shut down entirely, while they're still ahead, Ehmke says.

The Houle family poses in front of their feed mill's
shipping dock. Gary Houle, the mill's final owner,
decided to close the company this year due to the
difficulty of finding a successor. Courtesy Houle's Feed Mill

This was the case for E. J. Houle's Feed Mill in
Minnesota. The mill's business has actually grown in the
past ten years thanks to a growing contingent of hobby
farmers, whom owner Houle strove to serve.
"Many of the traditional farms were sold," Houle
says, "but fortunately for us instead of dairy farms, they
became horse farms, if you will. That business continued
to expand, and we were very fortunate to have a large
suburban, rural base of customers. Instead of 15 to 20
dairy farms, we had 300 to 500 customers raising horses
or chickens or small pig operations.
Business, Houle says, had been better than in the
past 10 years - better, even, than previous decades.
But whereas Houle's father purchased the business from his grandfather, the family has grown to
where dividing the business among 17 grandchildren
became financially untenable.
"It's time to exit, so we have to sell," says Houle, who
is 75. "There was not a financial reason to close. There
was a financial reason to stay open. If I were 50, I would
be overjoyed at the potential that is here." ■

Emma Penrod has covered science and business, with an emphasis on health, the environment and agriculture, for more than
a decade. Penrod covers the animal feed industry for WATTAgNet.com and can be contacted at elpenrod@gmail.com.
www.FeedStrategy.com ❙ November 2019


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Feed Strategy - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Feed Strategy - November 2019

Feed Strategy - November 2019
Contents
In the Mix
FeedStrategy.com
Climate change and animal feed: mycotoxin risk mitigation
How to adapt to the changing mycotoxin landscape
Scientists seek new ways to combat spread of mycotoxins
Feed additives that will succeed in 2020 and beyond
Marketing nutrition by extending credit
More feed, fewer mills: feed industry consolidation
How to target protein content in late-lactation cow diets
Critical junctures in early chick nutrition confi rmed
How pelleting influences particle size in animal feed
Products
Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - CT1
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - CT2
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Feed Strategy - November 2019
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Cover2
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - CT3
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - CT4
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Contents
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - In the Mix
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - FeedStrategy.com
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Climate change and animal feed: mycotoxin risk mitigation
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 5
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 6
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 7
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - How to adapt to the changing mycotoxin landscape
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 9
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 10
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 11
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Scientists seek new ways to combat spread of mycotoxins
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 13
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 14
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 15
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Feed additives that will succeed in 2020 and beyond
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 17
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 18
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 19
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 20
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 21
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Marketing nutrition by extending credit
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 23
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - More feed, fewer mills: feed industry consolidation
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 25
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 26
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 27
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - How to target protein content in late-lactation cow diets
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 29
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 30
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Critical junctures in early chick nutrition confi rmed
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 32
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 33
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - How pelleting influences particle size in animal feed
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 35
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 36
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 37
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - 38
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Products
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Cover3
Feed Strategy - November 2019 - Cover4
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