Central New York Feeds
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, Central New York Feeds (CNY Feeds) is a premier producer of custom bulk dairy feed. With its location in Memphis, New York, CNY Feeds sits along the main rail line between Chicago and Boston. This allows the company to procure the lowest cost and highest quality ingredients from anywhere in the country. With a carefully automated and calibrated mill, the CNY Feeds team routinely tests incoming ingredients to ensure quality for mixes that are custom-made to customers’ specifications.
When its mill was built in 1990, CNY Feeds began as a turkey feed producer to its sister company, Plainville Turkey Farm. “We had always produced turkey feed but we wanted to be sided on the railroad,” says Mark Bitz, owner of CNY Feeds. “When we built the mill it had some excess capacity and we decided along the way that we could make some dairy feed. Over the years it has changed completely to where now we only make dairy feed.”
A strong market
With a heavy focus on customer service, CNY consistently provides a quality product and remains responsive to its clients. By maintaining efficiency, CNY is able to operate with low margins. “Siding with the rail has worked tremendously for us,” says Chip Hyde, general manager of CNY Feeds. “We serve a radius of approximately 90 miles and maintain a strong competitive edge because of the cost of transporting by rail.” Bitz says that the job that Hyde does and the team he manages are the reason for the company’s success. “Chip and his team are exceptional,” he elaborates. “They provide great customer service and respond to our clients with great efficiency.”
Within the 90-mile radius that CNY Feeds serves is a strong presence of the feed industry. With strong competition and many end users, the company serves farms with capacities of 50 cows to 5,000. “There’s a really strong dairy presence in this area,” says Bitz. “They are generally all privately owned farms and even some of the larger ones are family farms.” CNY Feeds regulates a balance between the larger and smaller clients. “We have a pretty good mix,” says Hyde. “We don’t put any specific emphasis on the smaller ones versus the larger ones. We work with and treat each customer the same.”
CNY Feeds deals primarily in bulk, although the company provides bags of feed to farmers looking to supplement this supply. “We don’t do retail, but we offer a little bit of an extra service to those who need it,” shares Hyde. “One of the things that we’ve dealt with in the past has been calf feed. Some of the smaller dairies will need 150 pounds so we’ll sell that to them in bags as a convenience to them so they don’t have to go somewhere else to get it.”
As a family business, CNY Feeds is able to strongly relate to its clients and their needs as the industry ebbs and flows. The company also works as a team on a day-to-day basis. Without layers of management and supervisors, employees are able to provide support to each other — if one department gets busier than the others, people are able to step in and help out. “My crew is very good at that,” says Hyde. Everyone knows their job very well.” As a manager, Hyde works alongside his team to lead by example and demonstrate the teamwork culture of the company. “We’re a performance- and merit-based company, but we’re also a very caring company as well,” says Bitz. “We are a traditional family business but we also remain progressive.”
CNY Feeds has been able to retain a strong workforce through this philosophy and culture. By providing fair pay with a competitive benefits package, the company manages competent, dedicated employees. “By having Chip work alongside people, they are trained properly and efficiently,” says Bitz. “We also provide a 401(k) and some profit sharing.”
Bitz says that the future of the dairy industry in the area has a bright future. With reasonably priced farmland and the ability to grow forages, dairy remains a strong attraction in central New York. “There will be a lot more protein consumed in the world in the near future,” says Bitz. “We are fortunate to be in a strong area for family farms.” With plans to heavily invest in the company, and its continued dedication to customer service, Central New York Feeds will remain a leader in the Northeast dairy feed industry.