Phoenix Feed & Nutrition - Vermont Feed Company Enters 15th year
Phoenix Feed & Nutrition, based in New Haven, VT, has been steadily growing for the past 15 years. “When we started it was just Brian Elithorpe, myself, and one employee,” said David Santos, co-owner of the company. Craig Newton, current co-owner and a former colleague of Santos at Feed Commodities International, joined the company in 2007. Currently Phoenix Feed & Nutrition employs 61 employees, and run 28 trucks and trailers to haul their commodities through 7 different states. “We’re predominately a dairy feed, trailer load business, but also do poultry, rabbits, goats, etc.,” said Santos. “We work with a lot of big farms and have customers in all of the New England States, as well as New York. It’s amazing how fast we’ve grown in 15 years and what we’ve been able to do.”
One area that Phoenix has recently invested in is organic feed, under their Organix brand. “We started the organic feed company in 2016 when we bought a pellet mill in Brandon, VT, and that’s been a good thing,” said Santos. “It’s grown considerably in the last two years and the pellet sales have opened up new markets for us.”
Another area where Phoenix has grown is through their quarterly magazine, Perspectives: Dairy Farming in the Northeast, a quarterly publication that according to Phoenix “gives a voice to Vermont’s and surrounding states’ dairy farmers.” It reaches approximately 40-50,000 readers each issue. “The magazine shows people who we are,” said Santos. “If you want to attract good people you want to have a good corporate image, and our website and magazine are the face of that.”
“We don’t do any other advertising, and we were looking for a way to profile our customers,” said Santos. “When you look at the magazine you can see it’s not a Phoenix propaganda piece - we want it to be about our customers and how hard they work. There’s a lot of people that read the magazine that aren’t farmers, and we try to appeal them as well. When you get to talking to people like this for an article, it’s amazing how much more you learn about your customers and the stories they have to tell.” The magazine is also a family affair for Santos, since his wife Ann Louise Santos is the Senior Copy Editor.
Santos also credits their continued growth to searching for ways to stay efficient during lean times in the industry. “2018 was a really tough year for farmers in general because of low milk prices, and as a result the agricultural community struggled as well,” said Santos. “And it’s kind of looking the same way for 2019 to be honest. We’re always looking for efficiencies in manufacturing - we try to make sure to have back hauls on trucks so they’re full both ways, it’s all about keeping costs down. Nutritionally, we have 4 nutritionists and 18 others hired by the farms. It’s about trying to find ways to feed cows as efficiently as possibly without hurting health and herd production.”
Going forward, Phoenix Feed & Nutrition plans to continue expanding into new markets and increasing their visibility through social media and their magazine, which is slated for its 19th issue soon. For more information on the company, visit https://www.phoenixfeeds.net/.