The Henry Fruechtenicht Co. developed as a result of the burgeoning livestock market in Louisville. In the early 1800s, Louisville meat packing plants developed into the nation's leading slaughter facilities. With this new industry, many auxiliary enterprises such as feed, hay and straw businesses began to appear.
Henry Fruechtenicht began the Henry Fruechtenicht Co. as a hay and straw business in 1869. It was located on Seventh Street in downtown Louisville, just a few blocks from where the animals were held before being loaded onto steamboats bound for New Orleans or Pittsburgh. Henry, expanded the business to include oats and corn. By adding these two grains, it was only logical that the business began to cater to the Thoroughbred industry.
Now that his company carried everything a horse trainer needed, Fruechtenicht began to deliver to all of the racetracks in the Louisville area. Soon, trainers at Douglas Park, Miles Park and Churchill Downs began to depend on Fruechtenicht for quality hay and grain. His presence was well received, and the Henry Fruechtenicht Co. provided the six-horse hitch for the starting gate at Churchill Downs until a tractor replaced it in the late 1940s.
Stewardhip of the Henry Fruechtenicht Co. passed to Lewis Meyer, the husband of Henry's daughter Elizabeth. In the mid-1950s, Lewis together with his son, Henry Meyer developed the popular Producer Feeds brand name. The specialized horse feed came as a request of Warner L. Jones, owner of Hermitage Farm and Dr. A. Gary Lavin of Longfield Farm. Mr. Jones and other prominent area horsemen desired a coarse textured feed, already in bags, that could be delivered to the farm. This feed, commonly called "sweet feed," was the first of its type in the Louisville area. The Producer Feeds line expanded into six different feeds to accommodate all classes of horses.
After 40 years in the feed manufacturing business, Mr. Meyer had successfully expanded and developed Producer Feeds into one of the most prominent feed mills in the region. Many international companies were interested in purchasing this state-of-the-art facility, but Mr. Meyer remembered his family name and the pride his forefathers had in the company.
In 1997 Mr. Meyer decided to sell his business to Dr. David Williams of Danville, Kentucky. Dr. David Williams and Mr. Jerry Germann, two lifelong friends established Burkmann Mills in 1979. Before the purchase of Producer Feeds, Burkmann Mills was predominantly involved in the manufacturing of beef and dairy feed. Their business had four mills in Kentucky, but lacked the specialization to create a quality ration for Kentucky's most popular animal, the Thoroughbred.
Today, Producer Feeds, still owned by Dr. David Williams and Jerry Germann, is operated by Brent Williams, Plant Manager and the son of Dr. David Williams. The high-quality equine rations manufactured by Producer Feeds are provided to the region’s top breeding and sport horse farms. Whether providing for broodmares, when pregnant or lactating, foals, young horses in training or equine athletes at the track or in the show or performance arena, there is a full line of Producer Feeds rations and supplements to meet every need and exceed all expectations.
If you are involved in an equine athletic pursuit, we encourage you to discover our foods at one of many feed, farm or ranch stores in our region. Like many, you may prefer to pick your food up fresh from the factory by visiting our mill at 165 North Clay Street in Louisville.
If you breed, raise or train horses, we are pleased to deliver our outstanding products to your feed or tack room, rotate your stock and inventory your feed. We offer a number of services important to equine nutrition including forage analysis, custom formulation and blending, nutritional assessment of individual animals and we are pleased to share our findings with you, your veterinarian, your farrier, your trainer and others involved in your equine health team.