Time, science, and teamwork are all components of creating high quality animal feed. For Skagit Farmers Supply, the process begins when a seed is planted in a furrow in a PNW field and continues as the crop is harvested, processed and sold as a component in a finished feed at the counter of one of our feed retailers. When it comes to our feed products, we strive to support our local agriculture community by keeping everything from the sourcing of ingredients to the actual milling of the feed local. The crops included in our products are typically grown within a 200 mile radius of our mill and include beet pulp from Idaho, wheat and peas from the Palouse region, corn from the Columbia Basin and other ingredients sourced regionally. Our farmer partners are an integral part of our business, as they supply the knowledge and expertise to grow the high quality crops that are required to meet our standards.
Once the product is grown and harvested, it begins the journey to our AFCO mill in Spokane, WA. This mill has been supporting local agriculture since 1937, when Fred Aslin & Jack Finch first began the business. A lot has changed since then, including the purchase by Skagit Farmers Supply in 2013 but the vision of making the highest quality products with locally sourced grains is as strong as ever. The mill now currently supplies to the AFCO distribution network, which services over 800 independent retail stores in eight Northwest states. One of the things that sets our mill apart from others is that we focus solely on bagged feed for retail customers. The last 18 months has seen significant investment in our mill to ensure safety and efficiency. Improvements include a newly paved lot, interior and exterior paint, a new dust collection system and the purchase of a specialized pellet die. The mill produces our own private label brands, such as the Aslin Finch line of feed, which is made exclusively for our Country Stores. We also produce the Skagit Farmers Supply-owned brand of horse feed, LMF. The LMF feed brand was acquired in December of 2017 and is formulated specifically for the Northwest with world renowned nutritional science from Performance Horse Nutrition. As the backyard poultry business has continued to grow, we have also added Earth First poultry feeds to our line to meet consumer demands. These and other high quality feed products keep our stores competitive with large national retailers.
With our own transportation and warehouse system, the items the AFCO mill produces continue to be a very important part of the success to the overall distribution system. After feed is made, AFCO trucks move it all over the 8 Western states to get it into stores for customers to purchase. With our own transportation fleet and ninety-five percent of our goods shipping on company trucks, we are also able to have drivers that understand our vision and are motivated to provide excellent service. In the unique geography of the northwest we deliver to all different sizes of customers, from large chain stores to small boutique pet stores. Locations vary from large urban communities to remote rural areas – and having our finger on the pulse of the region allows us to service them all in a way that builds trust and partnership.
Our AFCO sales team is customer focused. They live and work in the markets we serve, and are passionate about animal ownership and care. They act as ambassadors of our product lines as well as examples of the lifestyle we cater to. They log countless hours traveling to their territory stores, attending shows and expos, and offering nutritional advice and guidance to large and small customers alike. Those customers are unique in their animals and needs, with varied species, size of herd, and preferences for organic, grain free, conventional, etc. We strive to provide a variety of options to customers so that we can fulfill the needs that are most important to them.
Our involvement of the entire process of feed manufacturing, all the way from field production to farm store transaction, means that we can provide high quality nutrition from start to finish to animals across the Northwest. Whether it’s a 4H or FFA member learning how to produce a market project, a dog mom looking for the best treat for their pooch, or professional barrel racers seeking a feed that will help support her equine athlete, we are proud to help them on their journey of feed and care. Our customers very greatly in their diversity of demographics, but all hold a deep affection for the animals they feed, house, and love. We are privileged to be a part of that connection.