Here is a recap on how we got started in making our own livestock feed. Yes, it is long but worth the read, as it does show our passion for GMO FREE FEEDS.
We are a family farm located in the foot hills of the coast range in western Washington County Oregon. The farm was purchased back in 1982 with my wife and two small boys. We decided that we wanted to raise our boys in a rural setting, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Both sets of grandparents were not in agreement with this move as we were moving to such an isolated place. But we both felt this was the right thing to do not only for our two sons but also for us.
We eventually purchased our first cow to raise on the farm for meat purposes, and that was quite a learning experience for all of us. We had no idea at the time as to where this first purchase would lead us in our lives. We reasoned that if you get a farm you get cows, because we already had horses. Well the learning curve was pretty steep for all of us in this new venture, but over time it has molded our family into what it is now.
Our oldest son dove into 4-H with a calf, and we were off. We had many different calves by then, and we learned so much it is hard to share all of it. During the 4-H years we decided to stay with the Black Angus breed, as by this time we had a few of them and we were registered with them. Our youngest son was not too keen with the Angus breed so he started a small commercial herd from a bottle baby, she was a Holstein/Hereford cross. But later on he bought a calf from his brothers’ herd to start an Angus herd as well. Also during this time we decided to put money away from the sale of the animals to be placed in the boys college fund, which really worked out pretty good at the time. Well as the years passed our boys wanted to be involved with FFA (Future Farmers of America). This also opened up a huge new area for Mom and Dad, as we were consumed with this new adventure in their lives.
Mom really got into the cows and over timeshe developed a breeding program for the Angus cattle. Dad had to go back to school to learn about A.I. (Artificial Insemination) on our cows as we really did not want a bull on the place, so Dad had to breed them to the sires Mom wanted to perfect the traits she wanted in the herd. During those years our cows won a lot of awards in FFA and also in a few different states for the Angus Regional shows. Mom’s breeding plans really paid off, as our animals did well in the show circuits, without compromising our values.
In the late 1990’s there was a lot of information floating around about cow feeds and the use of animal bi-products. This was the time period when “MAD-COW” disease was in the forefront of everyone who owned cattle, and trying to make sure on how to avoid it in our own herd. We were not too concerned as we owned a close herd, meaning that we did not bring on to the farm other cows. Every animal we owned was born on the farm, and it all started with just one Black Angus cow called “Babe”. As we continue to look back over the years it is hard to believe we raised over 175 cows and we are still counting even though the herd has been downsized to three moms.
MAD-COW was very much in our thoughts back then and we wanted to do everything we could in preventing this happening with our herd. Both sons attended EOU (Eastern Oregon University) and acquired OSU (Oregon State University) degrees in agriculture. One majored in Agribusiness and the other in Range-land Management, they both have a minor in Crop Soils. It was my older son during his stint at EOU who came across a used pellet mill for sale. He contacted us about it as he was aware that we were not pleased with the big feed companies and the feed they offered. This started our journey to making our own feed and the new company called Buxton Feed Company.
Our mill is not making a ton of money; it is all about our customers that they can get feed that works for them and their values. All of the feed we make started with conversations with our customers as to what they wanted for a top quality feed for their animals. We found that people were wanting feed from whole grains and not the crap that the big feed mills place in the feed they make. So this is how we got started in the business and how we continue to run our business with customers telling us what they want. Back in 2010, we decided to make sure that we only produce GMO FREE feed, based on our customers demands. We also then took a step further to have our feed ingredients to be 100% Certified GMO FREE.
Now you can see how we have “evolved” to offer “The Great Eight”:
1. We use whole grains that are GMO FREE.
2. We do not use fillers.
3. In our unique pelleting process, we do not use steam as this will rob nutrients from the feed.
4. Our feed was/is formulated by a local certified nutritionist.
5. The feed is tested at the molecular level for GM’s.
6. Our poultry and other premixes are made locally, to ensure freshness.
7. All of our feeds are mixed in the same order, and we never substitute anything.
8. We make small lots of feed to make sure it is always fresh from the mill.
We are continuing to listen to our customers and then take action with their needs. Our new “Cuddle Bunny” is an example. Last year we attended the Rabbit-Palooza held at the Washington County Fair Grounds. We set-up our booth to promote our rabbit feed that we make. The turn out was fantastic, and we learned a lot about rabbits and what they really need to eat in order to keep their weight under control, as these rabbits are companion or pet rabbits, that do not require a lot of proteins or fat in the their diets.
We connected with the Oregon Rabbit Advocates and their veterinarian to reformulate our 10% feed to offer just what the customers were wanting. This is now for sale via our outlet stores, or at our mill. Starting on June, 2016 this product is available for sale on http://Pinerest.com, or http://ETSY.com, or http://www.buxtonfeed.com, and http://AMAZON.com It comes in three different sizes, 4lb bag, 10lb bag, or a 25lb bucket.
All of our feed formulas started just like Cuddly Bunny. There was a need expressed by a group or person for a change in something we make. We evaluate and review the change to make sure it has a positive benefit to the species. Then we implement the changes into our processing, by starting with our nutritionist.
You know that our mission is to produce a GMO FREE feed for all species of livestock with the utmost quality and integrity.