Though TFP Nutrition began as a modest vision more than eighty years ago, we continue to change and grow today. With a new direction and a new name, the future looks bright for our business. But one thing remains the same – we make safe, reliable, and wholesome products that provide the best possible nutrition for the animals we love.
Born in the deep pine forests of eastern Texas more than eight decades ago, TFP Nutrition began as one man’s dream. In the spring of 1930, M.S. Wright began building a company and a legacy that has grown to represent one of the oldest and most respected agricultural and pet food processing companies.
As the small plant expanded production and grew, so did the company’s reputation for an unusual level of quality assurance and service to the customer. Reflecting Mr. Wright’s unwavering commitment to make the best product for the dollar and to deliver that product on time, the company soon established itself as one of the most service-conscious producers in the business.
Today, TFP Nutrition is a fourth generation company, known worldwide for the production of quality pet food and livestock feed. The company has developed a reputation of integrity that is generated by a large number of pet parents and animal-loving employees, many of whom have been devoted to the company for several decades.
“I am a firm believer that the key to being successful in business is surrounding yourself with dedicated, knowledgeable people who have a passion for what they do and a sense of urgency in taking care of business. We are fortunate to have attracted individuals of this caliber who enjoy being a part of our team, many of whom have been with us for some time. In fact, over 40% of our employees have been with the company for more than 10 years.” – Bud Wright
We are proud to tell the story of TFP Nutrition. A timeline of the generations before us is broken out by decade below.
M.S. Wright and his eldest son left their family the day after Christmas in 1929 in a Pontiac to begin a motor trip that changed the life of their entire family, and, in time, affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of employees, customers, and users of fertilizers and feeds marketed by Texas Farm Products Company.
M.S. Wright knew the fertilizer business best after working for two decades in the industry, so he chose to start a new manufacturing enterprise where the need was great and its supply limited. Researching probe sites carefully, he learned that Texas farmers and ranchers applied 235,000 tons of commercial fertilizer annually, and that Nacogdoches County, located in central East Texas, consumed 12,000 tons, but did not have access to a successful agricultural enterprise there.
Wright arrived in Nacogdoches on January 1st 1930, with $10,000 in his pocket. Following a series of meetings with various local banks, investors were secured enabling business to begin in Nacogdoches. The company was incorporated on January 15th, 1930.
“It is a wonder that someone could arrive in a small town in East Texas, arrange financing for a large manufacturing enterprise within two weeks, and be in production a little more than a month later”
– Archie McDonald (author of THE LONE STAR Brand: Products that Make Profits for Others)
M.S. Wright wanted a distinctive trademark, so his son Steele designed the company’s logo on a napkin. Both Wrights liked a design that featured an emblem inside a circle. A triangle was then added around the circle. Inside the circle was a blue star. The color red filled the remaining portions of the triangle not occupied by the circle, and the words “Lone” and “Star” were located on ascending and descending angles of the triangles.
With his new business underway, Wright sent word for the rest of the family to join him and Steele in Nacogdoches. Finally, M.S. could give his full attention to developing his business known as Texas Fertilizer Company. All of the family became active in its growth.
M.S.’s four sons became actively involved in the company at young ages. Mr. Wright’s idea was to train his boys as they were growing in the fundamentals of his business so they could take their places as key men in his business. The 2nd generation was off and running. Tom became the night watchman for the plant during his senior year of high school working for 15 cents/hour. Joe was active with various operation responsibilities. Dick, the youngest brother, began working as soon as he was old enough to do so.
M.S. Wright knew from the beginning that the sale of fertilizer alone could not sustain his company. His solution was to prepare and sell feed for the multitude of mules and horses used in transportation and farm work, as well as feed for cattle, hogs and other animals raised for food. Texas Fertilizer’s board of directors approved construction of a mill to mix feeds later in 1930. The board of directors agreed to change the name of the company to Texas Farm Products Company in view of its broader mission.
It had been an eventful decade for the Wright family and for Nacogdoches but the challenge had only begun. What came next was the most severe challenge of all: a world at war. Steele, Joe, Tom, and even Dick, the youngest, would soon all be in uniform.
M.S. Wright took note of the war’s impact on the company at a meeting of the board of directors in September of 1942. In addition to his sons, forty-five other men from the company served in the war. An ad in the Redland Herald on September 16, 1943, suggested the anticipation of normality once the war ended. The ad expressed M.S. Wright’s personal feelings:
“On behalf of these men faithfully serving their country, it is their undying wish and ours, that they may soon return and again produce the normal products of peace-time industry that a free people are entitled to enjoy. Those of us who are still here – will make every effort to produce for you as many of the various mixed feeds, fertilizers, and the Lone Star Brand quality products as war time conditions will permit.” – M.S. Wright, President
In 1944, Steele Wright was named the General Manager of Texas Farm Products Company, with M.S. Wright remaining President and Chairman of the company’s board of directors. In June 1945, Joe and Tom Wright were elected to the board.
In 1948, TFP took great interest in the poultry industry and became a major player in the egg production business.
By the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the company in 1950, Wright and his sons had settled into their separate but mutually contributing roles with the company. M.S. Wright remained president and chairman of the board, at least for a few more years, with Steele serving as vice president of the company and general manager in charge of all day-to-day supervision of the business, Joe supervising production, Tom in sales, and Dick moving into the business in charge of poultry operations and eventually the local retail farm-and-home center. In 1947, Raymond Rinker Jr., Wright’s grandson, went to work for the company. Ray had grown up in the Wright’s home and was regarded as the “fifth” Wright son. After serving in the US Airforce, Rinker returned in 1951 to a position in the company’s farm supply division.
Seeing what he had built, and feeling good about the accomplishment, M.S. Wright decided to relinquish the presidency of Texas Farm Products Company. In March of 1958, he submitted his resignation. Wright’s successor was never in doubt. M.S. Wright Jr. better known as Steele Wright, became president. M.S. Wright had foreseen this succession long before that.
A significant expansion of the company occurred in 1966 when Texas Farm Products purchased the CJ Martin and Sons Company of Austin, Texas, a formulator of animal husbandry pharmaceuticals since 1883. Wright said that combining the companies enabled them “to better serve the livestock, poultry, swine, pet food, truck farming, and general agriculture industries in an expanding territory.”
In March of 1969, the Martin company moved to Nacogdoches. Ray Rinker became the manager of this division.
In 1970, TFP continued to grow with the opening of the new Lone Star Farm & Home Center, a state of the art retail farm store. The Farm and Home Center, the dream of Dick Wright, gave the company a significant greater retail presence in Nacogdoches.
In October of 1970, Steele Wright was designated chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Joe Wright was promoted to president.
In 1975, Steele Wright announced plans to construct a modern pet food plant to produce dog food, cat food, and other extruded feeds. The plant would be the only one of its kind in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, or New Mexico.
Steele’s son, M.S. (Bud) Wright III was named general manager of the pet food division when the plant opened in the spring of 1978. Bud represented the third generation to be involved with the family business.
Tom Wright became a member of the board of directors of the Fertilizer Institute of America and the National Plant Food Institute, a trade association of the fertilizer industry. In 1986 Tom served as chairman of the Fertilizer institute.
In 1983, Tom Wright was announced by the board as president and chief executive officer. TFP was up to over 520 employees on their payroll. The pet food business was growing rapidly with new partnerships with large domestic retailers and exporting products in foreign markets such as Japan and Belize.
In 1990, the Lone Star brand could be found in feed stores, farm-and-home centers, and even urban supermarkets in fertilizer, livestock feed, and pet food. Nacogdoches population was above 32,000 people, which is more than lived in the entire county in 1930.
In 1991, Bud Wright became president and chief executive officer, fulfilling a prediction by M.S. Wright when his grandson was born: “That boy will run our business someday.” Wright grew up living in one of four homes built on plant property. Wright is proud of Texas Farm Products continued development during the 1990’s, including the introduction of the Precise super premium pet food brand in 1992 and doubling the capacity of the pet food plant in 1995. By the end of 1995, the company exported pet food to more than 40 countries. Due to the growth of the export business, TFP acquired ANF Pet Specialties in 1997.
That same year the company sold its fertilizer plant and entered into a co-manufacturing agreement to produce the Texas Farm Product brand of fertilizer it continues to market.
Texas Farm Products still claims a service area for feeds that covers half of Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi, and ships pet foods all over the world.
In 2004, Bud Wright was named “Man of the Year in Agriculture” by the Texas County Agents Association. The honor was even more meaningful because his father, Steele Wright, had been among the first recipients of the award.
In 2007, the international brand ANF Pet Specialties was sold to KODO, INC.
Texas Farm Products Company received a SUPERIOR rating for its pet food manufacturing plant from the American Institute of Baking (AIB), a recognized monitor of human food manufacturers in May of 2010.
Texas Farm Products Company is one of a select number of pet food manufacturers to voluntarily have its facilities scrutinized by the AIB and its standards for human food grade production. Undergoing AIB inspections proves our commitment to ensure the quality of the pet foods we manufacture.
In its inspections, AIB evaluates food safety risks and compliance to the criteria in AIB standards in the following areas: adequacy of food safety program, pest control, operational methods and personnel practices, maintenance for food safety, and cleaning practices. A rating method is used to assign a numerical score and classification to the manufacturer.
In September of 2010, a new era of the company began with two members of the fourth generation of Wright’s stepping up to help run the family business. Ben, Bud’s youngest son, was named a corporate sales associate calling on various private label pet food accounts. Josh Evans, Bud’s son-in-law, started in operations for both manufacturing facilities.
In 2012, Bud Wright was elected chairman of the Pet Food Institute, the national trade association for the pet food industry. We believe this shows the kind of respect that our peers have for the way we have conducted our business throughout our history.
In June of 2015, TFP made the decision to sell their premium brand Precise to KODO, INC. Following the sale of Precise, plans were set in motion to again expand the pet food plant. The expansion started with a new state-of-the-art extrusion system. The multi-color, multi-shape die system allows our operational team to manufacture the most innovative kibbles in the marketplace. Whether you are looking for a marbled rib-eye or a multiple colored offering, our extruder does all the blending during the extrusion process unlike the conventional post bin mixing systems that are common in the industry today.
M.Steele Wright IV joins the company in January of 2016. Steele was named Director of Special Projects and has overseen various construction projects in addition to doing market research and managing product registrations.
In 2016, the company made the decision to transition to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) platform and become a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 Certified facility.
In the Fall of 2016, Texas Farm Products Company changes its name to TFP Nutrition to better reflect the company’s expertise and focus beyond the ag marketplace.
“Our focus is to support the health of animals through balanced and wholesome ingredients.”
– Bud Wright, President & C.E.O