Cargill Animal Nutrition of Wooster, Ohio, is the 2011 Feed Mill of the Year in the US, as named by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs, the sponsors of the annual award program.
“Wooster,” as the winning plant is better known, is managed by Susanna Wright, only the second female plant manager to win Feed Mill of the Year. “To be recognised externally by winning AFIA’s Feed Mill of the Year is a huge accomplishment, and reflects strongly on the entire team we have in place, from production stakeholders, to sales, to administrative support,” she said.
Constructed in 1993, the plant was built to cater to the dairy market in north-eastern Ohio. The mill manufactures 42,000 tonnes of feed, split between bagged and bulk, including meals, pellets and textured feeds. Both inbound ingredients and finished feeds are tested for various quality specifications monthly, at a minimum, and all plant scales are certified externally twice a year.
Once Wooster expanded to carry Nutrena bagged farmstore feeds, the plant’s territory grew to include distribution in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. In the late 1990s, a 10,000 square foot addition to the warehouse was built to accommodate the Cargill Animal Nutrition brand family which includes Showmaster brand show feeds, Record Rack wildlife feeds and Right Now Mineral. Over the last three years, the facility has installed over $1 million in new equipment to accommodate sustained growth.
Cargill’s Wooster plant was certified in 2010 by AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program. The mill is in compliance with the Bio Terrorism Act and has been inspected by the FDA within the last year and deemed compliant. Moreover, the mill has an SPCC Plan that has been certified by a professional engineer.
Cargill Wooster has 10 production employees, one maintenance employee, five truck drivers and one clerical employee, who work on two shifts. The plant has a written recall program, safety program, a written emergency plan and a safety committee with five rotating members represented by both supervisor and non-supervisory employees. Twelve employees hold CPR-certification. Key to Wooster’s success is the focus on employee engagement. “Our continued success out of this location speaks volumes for the team we have in place, both past and present,” Wright explained. Wooster has had zero lost time accidents since 2004. Of its safety record, Wright explained, “I feel incredibly privileged to work for a company that places such a high emphasis on the safety of its employees. “There is never a doubt in my mind that when it comes down to doing a job, safety comes first; this is apparent in both day-to-day operations here at Wooster, and long-term planning around how we continue to grow our business.”