Scratch and Peck Feeds seeks market, footprint growth in expansion

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© Scratch and Peck Feeds
© Scratch and Peck Feeds

Related tags Organic food

Scratch and Peck Feeds finds support for expansion in face of producer demand for organic feed, says owner.

The Washington-based feed manufacturer is set to expand into a new facility with triple the current production capacity by the end of February, said Diana Ambauen-Meade, owner and founder of Scratch and Peck Feeds.

“The focus of moving into a new space is the ability to produce more, and produce it more quickly, because we have been, in our current facility, really strapped for space,”​ she told FeedNavigator. “With the new facility, we’ll be able to store more grain, so we’ll have a good inventory and consistent inventory on hand at all times.”

The move should allow the company to reduce the time needed to fill orders by several days, she said. And, it is expected to help expand the company’s footprint both in the Pacific Northwest and across the US.

“The goal definitely is to expand to work with new distributers in different geographic areas then where we have been working,” ​she said. “We’re in the process of building an outside sales team, which we never really had before, so we’ll have more presence out in the marketplace in terms of providing more services and getting our feed into new retail stores and with one or two new distributors.”

Market support

While the company is seeing support from increasing market demand, that was not the original reason the company gained first non-GMO, then organic certification, said Ambauen-Meade. The organic feed line started with the production of poultry feed that did not include genetically engineered grains or soy as a way to meet personal needs, but has expanded to offer feeds for pigs and goats along with feed supplements.

“Organic has been the way that I eat for the last 20 years, and that was something we did from day one,” ​she said. “The non-GMO and soy-free are important to me, and there’s a lot of passion that goes with what we do, it’s much more than just a market trend.”

However, the move to the new building is a way to meet increasing demand for organic feeds, she said. “The consumer, at least in our demographic, is becoming more and more aware of where their food is coming from [and] they’re getting much more involved in the healthy food movement,”​ she added.

“I see the market responding, and the consumer becoming more, and more, aware and that’s exciting and fulfilling to know,” ​she said. “We are hoping to spread a message about organic agriculture and organic food.”

The company has its main network in the Pacific Northwest, but also works with distributors in California and sells to stores on the East Coast, said Ambauen-Meade. Another potential of the expansion is that it may lay foundation for the start of satellite mills in other parts of the country.

“Having a satellite mill in an area like New England would be great because we could then source ingredients from that region,”​ she said. “That’s been a vision from the second year of business because we’ve seen so much interest in our products. We were very unique when we started, [and now] there are a couple of other business that are somewhat similar, but we still see a huge demand.”

Facility and product expansion

The 40,000 square foot facility offers the company the ability to move from producing about 35 tons of feed a day to about 105 tons when operating at full capacity, said Ambauen-Meade.

“The electrical is being run, and most of the equipment is installed, but [they are] building platforms around it and lots of safety [work] is being done,” ​she said. “In the next three weeks we will be finishing the internal [work] and getting ready for the automation contractor to come in.”

Additionally, the facility faces certification as an organic mill, she said. In addition to examining the grains and products used, the mill also has to be certified for organic production.

“As far as the feed products go, we don’t expect that we’ll be changing the lineup very much, but we do plan to launch new products in the supplement area and the natural health area in poultry,”​ said Ambauen-Meade.

The transition to a larger facility was a multi-year project, she said. The site offers the opportunity to have grain silos along with needed space, safety features and electrical output.

It also includes several pieces of new, American-made, equipment including a new roller mill, hammer mill and mixer that will allow for some automation to be used in the feed generation and bagging process, she said. Feed ingredients will continue to be sourced from producers in the region and in Canada.

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