Portales feed mill changes hands

By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor

Garvey Processing’s feed mill operation in Portales was sold Aug. 1 to a California company that specializes in dairy feed plants.

J.D. Heiskell & Co., headquartered in Tulare, Calif., announced its acquisition of the Portales operation late this week in a news release. The purchase was made from Garvey’s parent company, White International.

“We are excited by the prospect of serving one of the most dynamic dairy markets in the country from the Portales location,” Heiskell CEO Scot Hillman said. “Our management team has a tremendous appetite to grow this business and has made exhaustive preparations to do so.”

According to Dick Holland, the new general manager of the Portales mill, all Garvey employees at the Portales operation became Heiskell employees Aug. 1. He said former Garvey manager and vice president Randy McCasland will become operations manager at the mill.

“We think the people are the primary asset,” Holland said. “We think the local people here at Garvey have done a very good job of building the business.”

Hillman backed that up saying people won’t notice a lot of changes and that he felt the management had been doing a good job.

“Portales is our new hometown and we’re excited to be there,” Hillman said.

Hillman said the Portales market is a good fit with his company because of the expanding dairy business and because the mill in Portales already has experience in the commodities market, which are Heiskell’s bread and butter.

“(To us) it means growth, it means size,” Hillman said. “Volume is important in the commodities business. We looked for areas where the dairy business was expanding.”

According to the news release, the Portales plant counts among its active customers 40 of the 42 dairies located in Roosevelt County.
Hillman said dairy operators in the area would notice few changes with the purchase. He said Heiskell’s access to the commodities market might result in eventual price advantages to the local dairies. He also said his company is looking forward to introducing its line of value-added products or “recipes” to the Portales market.

The Portales feed mill, located on East Commercial in Portales, was originally opened as Worley Mills. The Worley family later changed the name to Sunmark Grain. Sunmark sold the business to Anderson Grain and Garvey purchased it from Anderson in 1997.

Holland, who is relocating to Portales from Pixley, Calif., was previously an accountant with Sunmark Grain in Portales. He grew up in Clovis and graduated from Eastern New Mexico University.

Heiskell claims in its news release that it is the fourth largest feed manufacturing company in the nation and operates the highest output feed mill in the country at its Pixley plant. The Portales plant is the sixth site owned or partially owned by the company.

The company, founded in 1886, just celebrated its 120th anniversary in June.

Phone calls to White International’s headquarters in St. Charles, Ill., were not returned by press time late Friday.