It isn’t often there’s an opportunity to design and build a facility based on years of industry experience and the associated knowledge that comes with knowing what works and what can perhaps be done better. At Performix Nutrition Systems LLC in Rupert, Idaho, that is exactly how the facility came to be in 2016.
The facility and team are the 2021 Liquid Feed Facility of the Year as named by the American Feed Industry Association and Feedstuffs. The announcement of their winning was made this past fall during AFIA’s Liquid Feed Symposium in Chicago, Illinois.
The Rupert facility generates approximately 56,000 tons of feed a year, primarily for beef and dairy cattle. PerforMix as a company is focused on the custom manufacturing of liquid and dry feed supplements for feedyard, dairy, cow-calf, and stocker operations throughout the West. One of it's largest customers is its parent company, The AgriBeef Company.
PerforMix’s first president was Rich Rawlings, long considered a feed industry leader and recognized among the pioneering families in the liquid supplement business.
Kirk Bowman, director of operations at PerforMix, is another long-time fixture with the company and was instrumental in the design of the Rupert facility, He also has driven much of the company’s push toward constant improvement over the years. “Our size and scale is an advantage and allows for increased efficiency,” said Bowman
Up until the last couple of years, not a lot of capital expenditures needed to be applied to the facility as it was still relatively new but one improvement that was undertaken was that of upgrading the facility’s finish product tank system. Bowman explained that seven finish product tanks were added to the existing tank farm, taking the total number to 17 finish product tanks.
The extra finish storage has allowed for the streamlining of the production process throughout the winter, which is traditionally the busy season. “It has allowed us to be able to produce non-stop without becoming tank locked. It’s given us a better split on the finish tanks so we can segregate them by formula type,” he said, noting there are currently 10 limestone (suspension) tanks, and seven (non-limestone tanks).
“Before the upgrade we were constantly outrunning our transportation and would spend time waiting for tanks to open so we could finish the daily production. It has definitely made it easier adjusting to our 26% growth that we have experienced over the last year,” said Bowman.
Bowman credits the people at the Rupert facility for making the plant outstanding. "We have a group of people that come from very different walks of life. Each person brings a unique set of skills and life experience to our location. It seems that if an employee leaves, we find someone who is a better fit. We only have 13 employees at our location so personality and fit sometimes means as much as skillset. We can teach people how to work production, customer service, transportation but it isn’t as easy to find people that “click” and work with a team mentality. I know that our employees here are vested, they buy into our companies’ vision, and goes above and beyond to provide excellent products/customer service," he said.
Something must be working right, the plant saw a 12% growth rate in 2020 and maintained a 14% growth rate in 2021. We also navigated the Covid 19 pandemic very well as a company, ensuring customers were covered at all times, said Bowman.
PerforMix relies on innovative methods to produce heavy limestone suspensions. To that, the plant in Rupert has high sheer mixers and automation systems to ensure the uniformity in the products it produces.
As Bowman explained, the company makes use of different suspension tools, but one that works particularly well is colloidal clay. The clay has a configuration where clay particles are magnetically attracted to one another to create a sort of structure that will support insoluble ingredients such as limestone when product is placed in a tank.
In addition to offering a variety of custom formulations, the PerforMix team also provides tanks and setup on farm to make it easy for cattle producers to accurately dispense liquid products.
PerforMix delivers to its customers using its own fleet of trucks that have a variety of trailer styles and load size capabilities. When the sight gauge on a tank shows it time to reorder, customers can call a toll-free number to schedule their next delivery. Optionally, they can turn to PerforMix’s custom inventory tracking system to schedule reorders.
“Our customer service staff uses a proprietary software system to track customer inventory. Our field staff checks the level of sight gauge to verify usage, thereby allowing the company to alert its customers when they are getting low and a load needs to be scheduled,” said Bowman.
PerforMix is FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certified. This is a voluntary program that is third-party audited. It provides the framework for the company’s regulatory mandates while ensuring a necessary foundation for its quality control processes.
“Rest assured that we have critically looked at all aspects of our operation, identifying hazards, eliminating waste, honing our processes to ensure our customer with the safest, and most innovative custom mineral packages on the market today,” said Bowman. “The combination of these efforts, along with our superior people, our first-class service, and our commitment to our customers, ensures that when you use a PerforMix supplement, you are getting the best value in the feed industry.”