Alltech: Feeding Horses, Minimizing Environmental Impact

Founded in 1980, Alltech is focused on providing green, sustainable solutions to horse owners’ needs for balanced feeds, supplements, and additives for horses.

BY ALLISON ARMSTRONG REHNBORG

When was the last time you considered the environmental impact of your horse’s weekly bag of feed? 

While that may be a new thought for many horse owners, the environmental impact of agriculture has been one of the driving forces behind Alltech ever since it was founded over 40 years ago. The brainchild of Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech is an innovative, green company with operations in animal feed, meat, brewing, and distilling. Its goal is to use scientific innovation and nutritional technology to benefit animals, feed consumers, and sustain the environment. 

“We’re always looking forward.” —Emily Dickson, Alltech North American multi-species marketing coordinator. Photo courtesy of Alltech

Along with his wife, Deirdre, Dr. Lyons immigrated to the United States in the 1970s with a dream of spearheading a wave of green, sustainable practices in the agricultural industry. In 1980, that dream came true when the Lyons family founded Alltech with just $10,000. Today, Alltech is a global leader in animal health with more than 6,000 team members spread all over the world. The company is headquartered in Nicholasville, KY, with regional offices located across the United States and international branches in such countries as Canada, Mexico, Mongolia, Brazil, China, and Ireland. 

Since 1980, Alltech has grown by leaps and bounds, but its heart remains faithful to Dr. Lyons’ vision of producing nutritious food for people while caring for animals and sustaining the environment. Dr. Lyons passed away in 2018, but Alltech continues to be family-owned and operated to this day. His wife, Deirdre Lyons, serves as the company’s co-founder and director of corporate image and design, while their son, Dr. Mark Lyons, is president and CEO. 

“Alltech is like a family. We have colleagues in over a hundred countries, but everyone has the same zeal and love for what we do,” says Meghan Niehaus, lifestyle and marketing coordinator for Alltech’s North American feed division. “For me, one of the most appealing aspects of working at Alltech is the fact that we focus not just on improving animal nutrition today, but on improving animal nutrition now and in the future, too. We are strongly focused on doing things that are good for the environment, good for the animal, and good for consumers, too.”

Alltech is a multifaceted company that provides feed and other products for a variety of species and industries, but they are also major suppliers of feeds, complete feeds, pre-mixed supplements, and additives for the horse industry. For much of its history, Alltech has focused on business-to-business interactions; now, according to Niehaus, the company has shifted focus to leveraging its equine brands, such as Hubbard and McCauley’s, to sell feed and supplements directly to consumers in the horse industry.

 “Alltech is like a family. We have colleagues in over a hundred countries, but everyone has the same zeal and love for what we do.” 
—Meghan Niehaus, lifestyle marketing coordinator, Alltech North American feed division. Photo courtesy of Alltech

FEEDING HORSES WHILE CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

In addition to feeds and complete feeds, Alltech produces supplements and additives for equines. 

“The word ‘additive’ sometimes has a negative connotation, because in human nutrition, it makes us think about synthetics or chemicals,” says Emily Dickson, Alltech’s North American multi-species marketing coordinator. “But in animal nutrition, additives are just something extra that you add to the feed. For example, in a bag of horse feed, you may have corn, oats, and alfalfa, but it’s not a balanced feed until you add in minerals, vitamins, and sometimes pre- and probiotics. Those micronutrients are examples of additives.” 

As part of Alltech’s drive to create green, sustainable practices in the equine feed industry, the company focuses on producing environmentally friendly horse feeds. For example, Alltech uses nutritional technologies to include trace minerals in horse feeds that are as digestible as possible to minimize the amount of minerals that are passed through manure into the environment. 

“I think as horse owners, we can forget that if an animal isn’t utilizing all the nutrients in a feed product, those nutrients return to the soil and that can impact the ecology around our facilities,” Niehaus explains. “We want to minimize that environmental impact. A lot of our technologies are based on fermentation using the yeast cell, and the idea is that if you starve a yeast cell and then offer it something that it can eat, it will absorb that and take it in. Then you can turn a yeast cell into a form of micronutrient that can be used by the horse’s body with as little waste as possible. It’s not just about how a mineral is used in the animal, but also how much of that trace mineral is wasted and goes back into the environment.”

Since its inception, Alltech has been focused on providing an organic and sustainable food supply for all animals, including horses.

“In the last decade or so, people have become really interested in organic, non-GMO foods, and naturally, we’ve become more inclined to translate that into what we feed to our companion animals and horses, too,” Dickson says. “But these technologies and ideas have been researched at Alltech for over 40 years. We’re already there, and now we’re moving forward into making our packaging more sustainable, too, by using recycled materials. We’re always looking forward.”

“We know how important it is to provide support to horses, because our horses create such a deep connection with us, and they can mean so much to so many people.” Photo courtesy of Alltech

LOOKING FOR A NEW FEED OR SUPPLEMENT? TRY ALLTECH!

While Alltech produces feeds for a variety of species, the team itself is largely composed of equine enthusiasts who want to produce feeds that are healthy, effective choices for horses of all ages and disciplines.

“Most of our team is equine-focused,” Niehaus says. “We have great nutritionists on staff, but we’re also equine competitors and horse owners here, so we are our own audience. We know how important it is to provide support to horses, because our horses create such a deep connection with us, and they can mean so much to so many people. I think having a team who understands and relates to that is important.”

Horse owners can purchase Alltech equine products from a variety of Alltech-owned brands including McCauley’s, Hubbard, and Lifeforce. The newly revamped and revitalized Hubbard Horse Feed line of products includes Summit, which includes traditional performance horse feeds, and Cool Command, which is a line of controlled starch feeds.

“I think the Cool Command line is pretty exciting in the current equine market because it focuses on low-starch and low-sugar feeds,” Niehaus says. “Many horse owners are concerned about that these days. Cool Command Controlled Starch is a standard 14% protein feed with controlled starch, but we also have Cool Command Balancer 30, which is a pre-mixed ration balancer that provides a horse on pasture with all the micronutrients they need to stay healthy. Cool Command Senior Horse Feed is a multi-form product with an extruded fat nugget as well as joint health support to support those senior horses who need an extra calorie boost.” 

Alltech also offers six premium equine supplements through Lifeforce, which are designed to be 100% digestible for horses. 

“We just launched a completely redesigned line of Lifeforce supplements on May 3, and we are super excited,” Dickson says. “Lifeforce Digestion includes Alltech’s signature gut health technologies. Lifeforce Calming is an herb-free supplement designed to support the nervous horse. Lifeforce Joint includes all four key joint nutrients, as well as probiotics. Lifeforce Hoof also contains added probiotics and Lifeforce Weight Booster is high in omega-3 fatty acids to help boost weight and skin health. And finally, we’re very excited about Lifeforce Elite Performance, our comprehensive, all-in-one supplement with joint, hoof, and gut nutrients, 100% organic trace minerals, 100% organic selenium, and more. In my opinion, any type of performance horse would benefit from Elite.” 

To learn more about Alltech and its green solutions to all your equine feed needs,
visit Alltech on Facebook, Instagram, and at www.alltechequine.com.


*This story was originally published in the July 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!

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