Wed. Feb 1st, 2023

ELLENSBURG — Sturdy historical past and skilled personnel may be invaluable to an organization — however so can an infusion of youthful enthusiasm and expertise.

The Anderson Hay and Grain Firm in Ellensburg is lucky to have the entire above, CEO Mark Anderson believes. And as a third-generation chief of the corporate, Anderson is happy to see his youngsters and others of their age group serving to the enterprise develop.

“I’m 57 … and different (workers) have been right here 30, 35, 40 years,” Anderson stated. “There’s an amazing quantity of longevity within the employment base within the firm. It’s a spirit of 1 large household, so to talk.

“And what’s actually enjoyable is, lately, along with the youngsters coming into the household enterprise, we’ve been very lucky to deliver on a variety of youthful expertise that’s blended by means of the entire group,” he added.

“I feel they’re attracted — an increasing number of younger individuals in the present day, they’re like, ‘I desire a job, I wish to receives a commission. However what am I doing, what am I waking up for day by day? Am I waking up for a goal, an excellent purpose, am I appreciated the place I work? Is it going to be a enjoyable atmosphere?’ That issues to this era.”

The enterprise started in 1960 as a strategy to complement the hay out there to space livestock homeowners, Anderson stated. It then expanded into the japanese U.S., notably as racehorse homeowners most well-liked the timothy hay of Japanese Washington for his or her animals.

The management staff of Andy by Anderson Hay consists of CEO Mark Anderson, left, and his youngsters Molly and Michael Anderson, pictured Nov. 9 on the firm’s manufacturing facility in Ellensburg.

JOEL DONOFRIO
Yakima Herald-Republic

Within the early Seventies, Anderson Hay & Grain Co. started exporting hay to Japan. It now sells hay in additional than 30 international locations in addition to the home market, the place it’s used to feed horses, beef and dairy cattle, goats, sheep, camels and different animals.

“The hay enterprise is fairly sophisticated,” Anderson stated. “It’s not made in a manufacturing unit. It’s a naturally raised product, climate dependent. We’ve bought to line all that up and ensure prospects from everywhere in the world are getting the hay they want, once they want it, the way in which they want it. And that’s not straightforward.

“Certainly one of our taglines is ‘feeding a few of the most vital animals world wide.’ Within that, for most likely 15-plus years, we’ve bought hay across the U.S. and components of Asia for individuals to package deal for the small pet market,” he added.

“That’s the Andy a part of the story — we proceed to try this to numerous packagers world wide, however we’ve additionally now developed our personal line of packaging, Andy by Anderson Hay. Now we’re together with rabbits and gerbils as a part of the vital animals world wide.”

Anderson, his oldest son Michael, 26, and daughter Molly, 24, sat down lately with the Yakima Herald-Republic to debate their latest product line: Andy by Anderson Hay, which delivers hay to homeowners of rabbits, guinea pigs and different small pets.

“Over time, I’ve accomplished fairly a number of of those media interviews. That is the primary one I feel I’ve accomplished with my youngsters, in order that’s fairly neat,” Mark Anderson stated.

Sarah Zabik, left, with Blackjack the rabbit, and Kiana Triplett, with Chester, maintain a few happy prospects of Andy by Anderson Hay feed containers throughout a Nov. 9 pop-up retailer occasion on the firm’s headquarters in Ellensburg.

JOEL DONOFRIO
Yakima Herald-Republic

Let’s speak about Andy. Molly, had been you the brainchild behind it?

Molly: No, I’d say it was a giant group of us that had a ardour behind beginning one thing new. My brother and I’ve been on this enterprise for 3 or 4 years now, simply studying the ins and outs.

We noticed that we had been lacking rabbits and guinea pigs and small animals that additionally need farm-fresh merchandise delivered to their entrance door. We noticed the chance and we utilized all of our years of expertise, and individuals who had been in our firm for some time. We discovered from that. We wish to present every little thing that’s within Anderson Hay proper to Andy’s.

So that you don’t need to go to pet shops and purchase a package deal of timothy hay, it’s direct.

Molly: Sure. So you’ll be able to store on-line, at Andy.pet, or you’ll be able to store on Amazon for comfort. We’re on each of these. We’re not in shops, we’re simply on these two platforms, simply to have the comfort of not having to go the shop, and never having to consider it.

We’ve got a subscription plan the place in two weeks you’ll be able to have recent hay proper in your doorstep. You don’t have to consider it in any respect. We’ll give it some thought for you.

How standard has Andy been? Have you ever accomplished effectively to this point?

Molly: I’d say we’ve accomplished very effectively so far as simply constructing a group. Group is a giant a part of our Andy model. Our mission is to be a buddy for somebody to depend on and a buddy that they’ll depend on.

I’m actually excited. I feel my favourite factor that I’ve heard is ‘How is your hay from a farm so recent, delivered proper to my entrance door, but it nonetheless smells prefer it was on the farm.’ I feel that’s one in all our favourite issues to listen to.

Mark: A number of the client base for that is Northeast within the U.S., proper?

Molly: Our largest buyer base is in California, that’s a giant one, after which in Chicago is a big one, too. And the Northeast, too.

Mark: We’re attempting to go to higher-end markets, the place individuals are actually wanting the most effective of the most effective. Once more, it matches that theme of, ‘I would like what I would like after I need it,’ and within the hay enterprise, that’s laborious. Even if you happen to had been to go to the native horse farm in Yakima, they’d inform you, ‘My final load of hay was good, and this one isn’t.’ It’s an inherent downside, or problem … or alternative in the case of the hay enterprise.

It actually doesn’t matter if it’s horses or small pets. Folks get actually annoyed in case your animal doesn’t eat the hay. In the end the animals are those that inform you — horses are choosy, rabbits and gerbils are choosy. Dairy cows, if you happen to’re simply placing it in a giant ration, much less so.

You wouldn’t suppose that, however they’re choosy. Regardless that you’re “hungry as a horse,” you continue to have an opinion on what you simply ate, whether or not you favored it or not.

With Andy focusing on homeowners of guinea pigs, rabbits … has there been a rise within the reputation of these animals?

Mark: The small pet market has exploded, particularly in your larger cities. And never simply within the U.S., however world wide. We haven’t launched Andy but internationally, however that’s within the queue someplace down the highway.

That complete inhabitants, that market has actually exploded the final dozen years, the final 10 years. Particularly by means of COVID — lots of people have gotten rabbits and guinea pigs.

The idea of getting pet meals delivered exploded throughout COVID, with corporations like Chewy. This feels like the same choice.

Molly: Precisely.

Mark: We really feel like we wholesale to a few of the totally different pet packagers, and do an ideal job of that, and can proceed to try this for our personal line. We’ve got an enormous provide base to select the most effective of the most effective for these actually vital customers, whether or not it’s a horse market or a small pet market. We’ve bought a variety of hay to pick out from — a variety of our personal farming, a variety of household farms we purchase from. We will undergo and actually take satisfaction find the most effective of the most effective to place in a field, to promote by the pound as a substitute of by the ton.

As an organization, about 30% of what we do is our personal farming and harvesting actions. And 70% comes from household farms that we’ve purchased hay from for generations. I at all times prefer to level that out: An enormous a part of our success as an organization is that my father was the marketeer of all marketeers. They’d inform him he couldn’t promote hay in some nation and he’d determine how you can promote it there.

The explanation we will do that’s we’re in an ideal a part of the nation to place out high-quality hay, and we’ve had an enormous following of household farms which have supported the Anderson model. It’s laborious to vow what we promise and ship with out that.

For a lay individual, what’s the distinction between simply common outdated hay and timothy hay?

Mark: There’s a variety of various kinds of hay, a variety of various kinds of grass hay. Timothy is well-known all through the racehorse business and the high-end horse market as a really clear roughage, baled out right here within the West. It holds its high quality effectively. The racehorse business likes it as a result of it’s lower-protein, excessive fiber. They will form of chew on all of it day lengthy, then they’ll do all their grain rations and all of the totally different dietary supplements they’ll do for the entire diet of the horse.

What the Western U.S. is admittedly recognized for is a constant, high-quality hay product that’s naturally solar cured. Timothy hay for instance, grown within the (Kittitas) Valley right here and within the Columbia Basin, is understood world wide for its consistency of excellent inexperienced colour and good fiber.

And the service aspect of the enterprise is large, too. Once more, it’s the consistency, it’s the reliability, it’s the service if you happen to’re going internationally, there’s documentation and export necessities and import necessities. There’s a variety of issues that go along with hay.

Is 2022 an excellent yr for the hay harvest?

Mark: It’s form of been a loopy yr, as a result of as we went into final yr’s harvest, 2021, we had a mix of low hay shares across the nation and within the West, after which that hit concurrently a extreme drought.

As we went by means of the 2021, hay turned very brief within the spring of 2022. Simply not sufficient hay shares to go round. In order we went into the 2022 harvest this final summer season, we’ve seen extremely excessive pricing, report excessive pricing, and a variety of panic within the market. Will there be sufficient hay?

Now our large problem is attempting to get all of this high-priced hay bought — once more, internationally is our largest market. A number of the overseas forex trade charges, in opposition to the sturdy greenback, make the hay much more costly.

Whereas we had a reasonably good harvest with pretty good high quality, with I’d say regular harvest situations, these report excessive costs have created a variety of stress to consumers. … There’s nonetheless the problem of attempting to get that hay shifting and attempting to battle the stress that our prospects are feeling.

Internationally, you’re seeing milk costs, beef costs, you’re seeing a variety of these costs go up because of the excessive price of inputs. For customers on a dairy farm, the excessive price of hay is stressing them. For a hay producer, we’re seeing excessive fertilizer prices, water challenges, labor challenges, transportation — enter (prices) are up on every little thing, throughout the board.

We’ve all seen this with inflation, the next price of residing. It’s a time that it’s delicate, and we’re attempting to know the impacts of inflation throughout the board. What’s the brand new regular?

Are you continue to seeing some points with transport hay abroad, that got here up by means of COVID and past?

Mark: We’ve seen enhancements within the transport finish. We’re getting vehicles into and out of terminals higher, we’re getting extra availability of ocean carriers. All of that. A yr in the past, we might have had a giant dialog concerning the meltdown in world logistics. We’re not seeing that as a lot now, there’s simply much less exercise. Imports are down, exports are down. The stress on the system is down, which helps.

That stated, as we sit right here in the present day, we’re shedding sleep over labor discussions, the rail business, a few of that’s being talked about. The longshoremen on the West Coast, they’re nonetheless in negotiations. A number of that’s been simmering by means of the election. Now we’re hoping that, post-elections, the administration will lean in and encourage employers and unions to agree so we don’t have that hanging over our heads like we presently do.

On the transport entrance, getting this West Coast labor contract resolved could be a giant factor for us. Rail’s a giant menace, too. That half continues to be fairly risky, however we’re getting vehicles into and out of ports higher than we had been throughout COVID.

For every of you, what made you resolve to stay with the household enterprise?

Michael: That’s an excellent query (laughter throughout). Being raised in it, I developed a ardour for it. Not solely do I get pleasure from what I’m doing day by day, however I’ve a variety of ardour towards writing that 100 yr guide (on Anderson Hay & Grain Co.; a fiftieth anniversary guide got here out in 2010) sometime. The household facet is a giant a part of it as effectively.

Molly: I’d say it’s the identical factor — writing that 100 yr guide. There’s no higher individuals to work with than your loved ones, and right here at Anderson household is admittedly vital. All of us form of act like one large household. I grew up right here, grew up with lots of people which are right here and I prefer to work with them day by day. There’s no higher place I’d reasonably be.

It really is superior to be taught from individuals which are main the enterprise. There’s no higher individuals to be taught from. There’s simply a lot alternative within the hay enterprise.

Mark: There’s a large household component right here — not simply the Anderson household however the entire workers. We’ve bought a variety of manufacturing employees, we do years of service recognition. We’ve bought 15, 20-plus yr manufacturing workers. We’ve bought somebody, Bonnie earlier than she retires, it’s like 45 years. She’s labored right here most of my life.

Our youngest, Matthew, is 17 — he’s on the ranch, nonetheless in highschool. He helps so much with the cattle, we’ve bought a grass-fed beef program. We’ve got the harvest aspect of the enterprise. So he’s rising up in a variety of what we’re doing, too.

What’s cool in Japanese Washington is there’s a variety of household companies which are generationally deep. That comes with some celebrations and the joy of retaining it going. It additionally comes with its challenges, to maintain that subsequent era going. We’ve got a variety of totally different companies, particularly in agriculture, with a number of generations concerned. It’s a neat factor in Japanese Washington. Hopefully the Anderson household can maintain that happening.

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