homepage logo

Standard Nutrition Services, Kerber Milling Company Merge Operations

By Staff | Feb 22, 2018

CHANGE?OF?OWNERSHIP - The acquisition of the Kerber Companies by Standard Nutrition Services of Omaha, NE, was formallay announced Feb. 19 to employees of the Kerber Companies. However, no changes are expected in the daily operations of the Kerber Companies, according to Bill Dyer, left, President of Standard Nutrition Company. Pat Joyce, center, will become the President of the combined Kerber Companies and Standard Nutrition Services. Jeff Kerber, at right, represents the third generation of the Kerber family to own and operate the firm, which has been in operations for over 90 years in Emmetsburg. -- Dan Voigt photo

A long-time business in Emmetsburg and Palo Alto County announced its acquisition by an Omaha, NE firm Monday, Feb. 19. The Kerber Companies, parent company of Kerber Milling, Ag Property Solutions and Hawkeye Sow Center, has been acquired by Standard Nutrition Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Nutrition Company.

The actual acquisition took effect on January 1, 2018, but was not publically announced until Monday, Feb. 19, when Kerber employees were told of the sale by former owner Jeff Kerber and Kerber Companies President Pat Joyce, along with Standard Nutrition Company President Bill Dyer.

The first message given local employees was that business will continue as it has for nearly 100 years.

“We anticipate no drastic changes whatsoever,”?Dyer explained. “Pat Joyce will remain in charge of the operations here in Emmetsburg, and will also become the President and a partner in Standard Nutrition Services.”

“We’ve been a neighbor to the Kerber Companies since the late 1980’s,”?Dyer continued. “We have a mill located in Bancroft, and I’ve admired the pork production systems that the Kerber Companies have developed over time. We have developed programs with poultry producers in South Dakota and pork producers to the west as well. I?am very impressed with the team that Jeff and Pat have assembled for Kerber Milling and this is just a great opportunity for both of our companies.”

“Both of our companies have been deeply rooted in animal livestock agriculture for decades,” noted Joyce. “Together, we will continue to build on our relationships and partnerships in the ever-changing agricultural industry. This move also gives the Kerber family an excellent succession strategy after their years of service to the region as well as creating opportunities for the talented people of both organizations to pursue the passion and expanded resources and services provide to animal agriculture producers.”

For Jeff Kerber, the time was right for the move.

“I’m the last of three generations of the Kerber family to operate the business, and looking to the future, I?always knew that someday, I would have to figure out what to do to continue the company,”?Kerber said. “10 months ago, I?had no idea that we would be doing this, but since meeting Bill and comparing notes and businesses, this is a good fit for both the Kerber Companies and Standard Nutrition Services. A?lot of things just lined up perfectly. There are things we do really well and there are things Standard Nutrition does really well. There are just a lot of synergies, but Pat is going to be the greatest synergy. He has run the Kerber Companies for us for the past several years and he will do an excellent job bringing the two companies together.”

Kerber continued, “I was looking for the right partner to trade places with, and with Pat and Bill, it makes it easier to step aside. Finding the right partner was so critical.”

Standard Nutrition Company traces its roots to 1886 in Omaha, NE., the outgrowth of the Standard’s Stock Food Company, a firm that introduced supplemental vitamins and trace minerals into livestock rations. Since that beginning, Standard Nutrition has grown to serve 18 western states and three Canadian provinces.

The Kerber Companies was founded in 1920 by Fred Kerber as a flour mill, but transitioned into milling feed products for livestock producers. In the late 1960’s John Kerber took over the leadership of the company as it grew into a regional nutrition company , as well as developing the Hawkeye Sow Centers producer network.

Jeff Kerber assumed the leadership of the company in the late 1990’s and oversaw the development of management services for producers, as well as the creation of Ag Property Solutions, a construction and equipment subsidiary devoted to livestock facilities supplies, equipment, construction and repairs.

Today the Kerber Companies employ around 180 individuals in the various divisions.

“Bringing our companies together creates the opportunities to gain efficiencies,”?Jeff Kerber noted. “For instance, Standard Nutrition has three PhD’s in Animal Nutrition on staff while we have had to rely on outside nutritionists. These efficiencies are what you need to do to remain competitive.”

“We are very excited to gain the construction and equipment expertise of Ag Property Solutions,”?Dyer added. “Standard Nutrition Services does not have a construction division, and in the past few months, we actually had APS people out in South Dakota advising some of our people on a swine facility for one of our producers. It was really fun to do that, because we had three entities, our producer, Standard Nutrition and Ag Property Solutions all working together and none of them knew this would become a unified organization this year.”

With the acquisition now public, the immediate goal will be business as usual, according to Dyer, Kerber and Joyce.

“The biggest thing will be to bring everything together,”?Dyer admitted, “but we’ll just relax, and let everyone get to know each other and let our companies continue to grow and serve the livestock agriculture industry for a long time to come.”