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Agrimarketing : January February 2008
64 AgriMarketing January/February 2008 FEATURE STORY Alltech is not your typical agribusiness success story. Nor is its founder and president (more on that later). Headquartered in the rolling hill horse country near Lexington, KY, the animal health company which special- izes in providing feed ingredients derived from natural processes (see sidebar), just passed the $375 million in sales mark and now has 1,800 employees, operating in 85 countries. It has its sights squarely set on reaching $1 billion by 2012. While many successful agribusi- nesses or their ag divisions were founded by a farmer-inventor, a genetics researcher, R&D groups within large multi-nationals, or divestitures from companies which had products for the market, but chose to focus in other areas, All- tech's start was completely different. It was founded by its President Dr. Pearse Lyons whose background was in a discipline far removed from agriculture: a scientist with an M.S. in brewing technology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, with a special empha- sis in yeast fermentation for the dis- tillery business. Born in Dublin, Ire- land, Lyons started his career as a biochemist for an Irish distiller. He moved to the U.S. in 1975 as North American Manager for Biocon. "I was sent to the U.S. to help improve our distilleries' efficien- cies," Lyons says. It didn't take him long to find additional opportunities within the industry, so in the classic entrepreneurial spirit, he set off on his own and formed Alltech. "Our first business was to pro- vide consult- ing to distillers on ingredients efficacies and how to build efficient facili- ties. However, I also had an intense interest in adapting the yeast fermen- tation technol- ogy that we knew so well in the distillery business, for use by the 'gasohol' busi- ness, which, of course, is now known as ethanol." But in the early '80s, the ethanol business was in its startup phase, and without some tax breaks, its future was relatively dim. So Lyons started looking for other markets. Along the way, he became aware that the use of some of the ingredients that he was familiar with would ben- efit horses, cattle, poultry, and other livestock. The ultimate marketer, he also thought the "natural" manner in which they were produced, could also be a factor in bringing commer- cial success to his products. "I envisaged using natural yeast fermentation and natural enzyme technology as the driving force for providing new alternative products for the animal feed industry," Lyons explains. So, in 1983 Alltech launched Yea-Sacc 1026, its first product for the livestock industry (see timeline). DIFFERENTIATION Alltech's core competency is yeast fermentation. By recognizing that and combining it with anticipating customer demand, the company has continually managed to find new applications for yeast and yeast derivatives. "We have also differentiated our- selves from traditional companies by focusing on three key areas," Lyons says: • Research: Alltech is committed to exploring new ways to solve the problems facing the food and feed industries. The company sponsors internships, M.S. and Ph.D. pro- grams and plans to have over 100 doctoral and masters students con- duct industry-related research at its Bioscience Centers over the next five years. • Marketing through education: As the company develops new prod- ucts, it feels it must inform its part- ners of the potential benefits. Its initiatives include the Annual International Feed Symposium; Lecture tours in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa and the Middle East; Agribusiness summits, and the North American University Seminar Series. Attendees include researchers, veterinarians and other nutritional experts and influ- ALLTECH: MAKING OF A CHAMPION by Lynn Henderson, Editorial Director ALLTECH NATURAL Alltech's products are formulated via the natural process of yeast formula- tion, as opposed to its competitors' products that are formulated via inorganic or chemicals. Alltech says its products can either replace, or supplement, such products as antibiotics, growth stimulants and inorganic feed supplements. The company believes, and has confirmed through its own and university research, that animals respond better to ingredients formulated under the Alltech natural process. AM Alltech's European Headquarters, based in Ireland, is home to Alltech's largest region.
2008 Marketing Services Guide
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