This summer, we constructed a new office building in front of our feed mill in Howard Lake, Minn. This
building, which replaces a tiny structure erected in the 1950s, is an indication of the growth of Munson Lakes Nutrition (MLN) and follows many improvements to MLN’s people, processes and milling facilities.
John Zander, who joined the company in 1980 and has served as general manager since 2004, says that MLN has distinguished itself as an expert in animal nutrition.
“We’ve worked hard to change an image that people had of our sales staff as order takers,” says John. “We have sales people who should rightly be called nutritionists.” These nutritionists advise dairy and beef producers on environmental factors that maximize milk production and economic gain, as well as building cost-effective rations.
As the dairy business continues to evolve, says Zander, it will be important for MLN to set itself apart as a company with expert advisors and service—not just as a supplier.
“Dairy farms are fewer and bigger,” notes Zander. “The number of cows hasn’t dropped, but we must be able to work with both the traditional farms, and the larger and robotic farms of the future.”
According to Zander, MLN has been able to do that.
“We’ve grown our business each of the last 10 years,” he states. “Today, we manufacture and ship feed throughout the state of Minnesota and to customers in the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa.”
Ted Radintz, MLN’s new sales manager, praises the forward vision of the company. “We don’t forget where we came from, but we won’t rest on our laurels,” he states.
As a result, MLN continues to refine its pelleting ability.
“We make a lot of beef concentrate and we’re able to produce specialized pellets for dairy customers who have invested in robotic milking systems.”
MLN also leads the industry in meeting and exceeding regulatory standards. Under safety and compliance manager Brian Yager, MLN was one of the first mills in Minnesota to be certified in FSMA’s Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) six years ago.
During its most recent HACCP audit, MLN achieved a 100% score.“Munson Lakes Nutrition will continue to purchase ingredients right and manufacture high quality feeds,” predicts Zander. “We’ll continue to hire good people to make and deliver that feed—and to give expert nutritional advice.”
New Munson Lakes Nutrition office at dawn, with mill silhouetted in the background.