The little feed store that could - Iuka Feeds helps ag producers around the country

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Iuka Feeds, at 100 Maple Street in Pratt, is a hub for national game-bird feed sales as well as a local cattle, sheep, hog, poultry and pet food outlet.

Whether sending beef cubes to Medicine Lodge, customized rations to Hillsboro or bird seed out of state, the small but mighty branch of Kanza Cooperative known as Iuka Feeds in Pratt, is a stable force for the Ag industry in Kansas.

"In the agriculture industry there are always going to be breakdowns; we help different people whenever they need help, even though they are competitors," said Iuka Feeds manager Randy Dowling. "We are always here for all Ag customers, our own as well as theirs. That's just how we do business."

Dowling, who has served as Iuka Feeds manager for 17 years now, said the small business on 100 Maple Street near the train tracks in Pratt was stable.

"We do a lot of out-sourced toll-milling for others," he said. "We are here to help."

Iuka Feeds has a team of nutritionists on staff who are trained to handle the unique requirements of specialty feeds for all types of animals and birds. They also have spe- cialized equipment, unlike most major livestock feed manufacturers, that gives the business the ability to customize rations at all sizes needed. Competitive pricing for top-quality feed has made Iuka Feeds the go-to place for many Ag producers in the area.

Iuka Feeds is the primary suppler of game-bird feeds in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. They also have hatchery and brooder house supplies for sale both at the store and online.

"About 40 percent of our business is working with specialized game-bird rations that go all across the country," Dowling said. "The other 50 percent of our business is local cattle, hog, poultry, sheep, goat producers."

Pet foods for dogs, cats, rabbits and birds may also be formulated with amino acids, grains and healthy proteins for all types of pets as needed at Iuka Feeds.

Dowling said the small feed store employs eight full-time employees year-round at the Pratt location.

On-site consultation is available for those needing a customized mineral or feeding program for any type of animal operation.

History behind the co-operative branch includes establishment in 1915 in Pratt County by a group of farmers who formed the Iuka Cooperative Exchange in time for the 1915 wheat crop harvest.

The first grain elevators was built in 1918 for approximately $3,100, another grain elevator was built in the late 30s after the company survived the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In 1946 a 100,000-bushel concrete elevator was built, followed by a 300,000-bushel elevator in 1961.

Mergers and innovations have kept the larger Kanza Cooperative company viable since then. And the little store along the tracks in Pratt, Iuka Feeds, pulls more than it's fair share of the economic weight, a stabilizing force in a changing industry.