Tennessee Farmers Cooperative and Purina Animal Nutrition announce the formation of ProTrition
Jun 01, 2021
The company will be governed by a six-member board of directors with equal representation from TFC and Purina Animal Nutrition and will be headquartered in La Vergne, Tenn. The board has selected Joe Huffine, a 33-year veteran of TFC’s Co-op system as the JV’s CEO. Huffine will be leading the organization’s daily business operations and responsible for assembling the management team.
ProTrition is the third and final component of the TFC Board’s plan to pursue strategic alliances through the formation of joint venture companies. Faithway Alliance was established Aug. 1, 2020 to provide customers with lawn and garden, farm hardware, fencing, automotive, horticulture, and home goods products. GreenPoint Ag was established Sept. 1, 2020, and encompasses $1 billion in wholesale and retail sales, making it among the top seven largest agronomy distribution companies in the nation.
ProTrition will feature brands and products that livestock producers throughout the trade area will recognize immediately: Purina Animal Nutrition, Co-op Feeds and Minerals, and Cumberland Mills Feeds.
These feeds will be sold exclusively by ProTrition retail partners in the trade area. Co-op Feeds and Minerals will be sold only at member Co-ops, cooperatives, and contract patrons of TFC. These stores will have the option of adding the Purina Animal Nutrition and Cumberland Mills Feed products if they do not currently offer those lines. Current independent dealers will continue to have access to Purina Animal Nutrition, plus the Cumberland Mills products. In addition, a complete line of over-the-counter (OTC) animal health and script drugs will be available through ProTrition Animal Health.
“Livestock producers will ultimately have more choices because of this collaboration,” says Huffine. “Customers can have confidence in the continued quality of all these brands as we collaborate to better serve them.”
A single ProTrition sales team cross-trained across all product lines and categories will be positioned strategically in the trade area, and those employees will work objectively with each retail location to help identify the right mix of products for each store. They will also be available to consult with customers as needed.
Efficiencies and benefits will be gained in a number of areas through this venture, including business operations, environmental health and safety, training, ingredient purchasing, marketing, employee talent, research, and manufacturing.
Both legacy companies bring a great depth of nutritional expertise to ProTrition. Products will continue to utilize research from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Mo., and from Cooperative Research Farms (CRF), an international partnership of prominent feed manufacturers of which TFC has been a member for more than 55 years. Current nutritionists from the legacy companies will continue to work on behalf of ProTrition.
“We will gain efficiency through consolidating some SKUs (stock keeping units), both from manufactured products, specific ingredients and buy/resale products like salt, beet pulp, and alfalfa pellets, and providing dealers with a single source for these items,” says Huffine. “We will maintain the best-selling rations for all our retailers.”
ProTrition will operate four feed manufacturing facilities in Tennessee: the three mills previously operated by TFC at Jackson, La Vergne, and Rockford, and Purina’s mill in Nashville. These facilities will be leased from the legacy companies. The Nashville mill be devoted to the production of non-ionophore feeds to add an additional level of safety for ionophore sensitive species. Additions at all mills will allow for growth and value to our customers. The Tenco feed mill at Rockford will be expanded to have a devoted mineral manufacturing line for Purina Animal Nutrition and Co-op minerals.
Additionally, through manufacturing agreements, ProTrition’s goal is to work with other partners within the trade area for mutual benefit in bulk and bagged feeds.
“This JV will allow us to maximize production at all four mills by working together,” says Huffine. “Some 80 percent of manufacturing capacity will be devoted to customer products and the remaining 20 percent to toll mill manufacturing for long standing customers. This will allow us to capitalize on the best use of our investments.”
The new company will begin operation Aug. 1, 2021. Transition of IT and mill operations will continue throughout the fall with the goal of completing the process by Dec. 31, 2021. Legacy company employees currently involved with feed products in the trade area will become part of ProTrition on Aug. 1. Visit www.protritionfeed.com to learn more.
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Value-added agriculture continues to show strong growth in Tennessee, reaching a value of $142.8 million with gains of more than 65% recorded in the sectors of sales to retail markets, processed or value-added products, and agritourism, according to the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture.