NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Pet food made in Nacogdoches at Texas Farm Products is exported to countries all over the world.
The interesting fact was shared Monday during a Texas AgriLife Ag tour that will conclude with a banquet Tuesday. The tour and the recognition bring attention to the vital role agriculture plays in the Nacogdoches County economy.
Sometimes, with local industry it takes seeing it up close to fully appreciate its contribution to the economy.
A tour of Texas Farm Products Pet food division aimed to accomplish that.
Guests learned 80 percent of production at the Nacogdoches plant is for pet food labels other than those packaged under the familiar Lone Star logo.
What is often not realized is the international representation Nacogdoches County agriculture has. One shipping container at the plant was filled with Lone Star dog food is on its way to Taiwan.
"We are certified as an export facility. We ship to about 38 different countries around the world," said Josh Adams, the vice president of operations for Texas Farm Products. "We are one of the few plants around the state of Texas that can go to all 38 of these countries."
Each shipment must meet that country's standards.
The European standard is so far unattainable. The country adopted restrictions on genetically modified organisms, something found in most all American grains.
"So that really pretty much closed us out and prevented us from continuing export to Europe," said Bud Wright, Texas Farm Products' CEO.
Luckily, Asian exports remain strong where former residents say dogs are treated well.
"They treat them like their children," said Corrie Mash, a tour participant who is a former Hong Kong resident. "And they spend a lot more money than we do."
Animals, no matter where they live, have a selective pallet. Many of Texas Farm Products 150 formulas packaged over 400 different ways receive a product test at a facility located outside of St.Louis.
"They have 200 dog, 200 cat facility there in St. Louis," said Ben Wright, who oversees Texas Farm Products' private labels. "They give it to a dog and say, 'OK, which one tastes better?'"
Texas Farm Products has about 165 employees, with distributors all over the region. Texas AgriLife recognizes the company's significance to East Texas.
"Not only agriculture production, but resources and employment as well as how they reach out into the community," said Ricky Thompson, the Texas AgriLife Agent for Nacogdoches County.
Texas AgriLife strives to build community relations with agribusiness. It's just one more way to create awareness of the role agriculture plays around town or around the world.