Exeter Feed Mill

Manager: Jake O’Neill
Location: Exeter, Mo.

The Mill: Exeter Feed Mill, located beside Mo-Ark Livestock Auction, on Hwy. 86 has been owned by Marty and Julie Newman and managed by Jake O’Neill for seven years. As manager, Jake works with farmers to produce a quality feed that fits their needs, “I spend a lot of time on the computer looking at feed prices.” Beef cattle is the largest portion of the mill’s business, and Jake’s biggest seller is a 12 percent cattle feed and a 14 percent creep feed. If a farmer is looking for a special blend, Jake can help, “We have computer programs that do analysis on different feed formulas and can print those out, and we can come up with custom mixes according to what the farmer needs.”
“You have to farm with a very sharp pencil anymore,” said Jake, “you can work hard everyday, but if you don’t keep track of your expenses, you’re not going to make money.” Jake, who talks to farmers at the feed mill everyday, knows first hand how important buying quality feed at reasonable prices is, “I have a commercial cow herd, too, and also raise some registered Black Simmental.”

Volatility: “Corn is king, and if corn goes up, everything goes up,” said Jake. “Since we started in ‘07, we’ve seen the highest corn prices on record – all feed stuff has been high.” Jake says that since corn has been used in Ethanol production, that the prices have become more volatile. In his years of managing, he has learned that it can be risky, but that feed purchasing decisions have to be made on the fly, and with several local feed stores, competitive pricing is a must to stay successful.

Making it Work: “I’ve always had really good employees, that’s what makes it work,” said Jake. The mill sells bagged and bulk feed for all livestock, as well as custom feeds for every need. “It’s all about the employees and the customers liking what we do. Any business is about developing a relationship with the people we work with, that is the most important thing.”


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