Thomas Moore Feed, a premier family-owned and -operated horse, livestock and birdseed feed manufacturer in central Texas, recently invested in expensive upgrades to the chief milling facility on Allen Farm Road. The company is also in the final process of enacting advanced quality control initiatives to obtain ISO 9001 certification for the facility.
For more than 150 years, five generations of the Moore family have farmed the banks of the Brazos River, growing corn, cotton, and hay, and raising cattle and horses. In 1999 the family first started bagging corn to sell to friends and neighbors. That word-of-mouth business grew, and the Moores later expanded their offerings to produce cattle and horse feeds. Product demand increased from 500 tons in 2003 to 12,000 tons in 2012, prompting the need for greater production capacity and storage.
"I love what we are doing. I'm a horseperson, a farmer and a dreamer, and I love creating and growing things," said Matt Moore, the owner of Thomas Moore Feed. "We've been driven by demand. I wanted to expand our local business to better serve our customers with the freshest feed possible."
Spending considerable sums on major upgrades, Moore explained the plant now has a unique forage-processing system, an automated processor to add healthy fats and oils to feeds, and 40,000 square feet of new storage space. The company additionally invested in valuable quality control devices that allow it to test pellet durability and quality. The mill now boasts four production lines: one line to clean grains and produce poultry feed and birdseed; a second line for sweet feed production for horses; a third line for pelleted feed production; and a fourth line for producing cat litter.
"We wanted to diversify our business by adding these different production lines," Moore said. "We are excited with the enhanced capacity we now have to hold, clean, store and ship grains by rail as well as by truck."
To Moore, quality control is the focus and priority of his business, which is why he decided to pursue rigorous certification for his plant. The ISO 9001 certification process that is currently underway should be wrapped up by June 2014. In the meantime, every morning he inspects what is produced firsthand and rejects any feed that doesn't meet his standards. Every 40th bag in production gets pulled and is evaluated for its look and smell, as well as its protein, fat and fiber content. He invested additional money in an expensive near-infrared machine to test samples.
"I have a zero tolerance policy," Moore said. "If it doesn't meet our standard, it doesn't go out. I'd rather throw out feed than lose a customer."