How It’s Made: Ingredient Sources

Q: Where do these ingredients come from?

A: The feeds milling industry is built on the ancient concept of using up resources from the human food chain. The human food industry has always had byproducts that are used for animal feed, and it is a great way to use all the value from a crop. That’s why so many tags list general terms like “grain byproducts” or “processed protein byproducts” instead of products we recognize.

We often receive products that are from the human food supply chain that become available as feeds. The organic pumpkin seed in your chicken feed might have been originally intended as a human snack. Maybe the seeds were too big or too small, or the farmer grew more than his contract called for. Maybe the farmer didn’t have a full truckload of wheat to send to the Portland grain elevator for export. Maybe it’s our friend Roger or Brian or Isaac, and he saves a portion of his crop to sell to us. He knows Union Point would pay him fairly and save him the transport cost. There are lots of reasons why human food might end up as a feed ingredient. Fortunately, we are small enough to grab some of these great products and incorporate them into our feeds.

Not all byproduct ingredients are good quality. Some are just bulky fillers, or have had all the nutrition taken out of them. But some are delicious, like roasted soy bits or granola with the wrong nuts in it. Our maple flavoring comes from a bakery. The rolled oats might have been too dry, too large or too small for the specifications on the Scottish Oats.

If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, or a famine, all bets are off. We don’t have the same standards or certifications as a human manufacturer, so please leave the feed for the animals. In the meantime we love incorporating good, recognizable ingredients into our feeds when they are available.