Wesco International By: Andy Gunkel, Eli Sykes, Connor McVein

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Wesco International is one of the largest hay exporters in the state of Washington. Founded in 1971, it was originally a wool exporter but made the transition to agricultural products with a specialty in hay distribution in 1973. Don Schilling, the owner and President of Wesco Int. has been with the company for over two decades and has seen the ups and downs in the industry. We chose to do our second project on Wesco because one of the group members, Eli, is an employee at Wesco International. We were able to tour the facility and interview Eli’s boss Jordan, and get a great inside look into the daily operation of Wesco.

Jordan is the Human Resources, Safety, and Employee Development Manager of Wesco. A man with many hats, Jordan splits the responsibility of managing 60 employees with 5 other division managers and Don Schilling. We received a full tour of the offices and facilities associated with the company. He gave us detailed information of the different products they provide and sell, the ways they distribute them, and the clientele they serve.

The company does most of its sales and distribution of products with overseas clients but buys local grown products from growers all around the Northwest. The clients range from domestic farmers around the United States, to international clients as far away as Japan, China, South Korea, and the Middle East. The quality of hay sold by Wesco is in such high demand for international clients because it is difficult for them to grow domestically and is the best quality for the animals they raise. It is most commonly used for animals like racehorses, dairy cows, cattle, and utility farm horses. Japan is about 85% of Wesco’s international sales and uses the products to feed high end racing horses as well as other agricultural needs.

Wesco deals in many different types of hay products but has a core group of four, (Timothy, Alfalfa, Oat, and Sudan grass) which are most typically marketed and sold. Timothy and Alfalfa hay are the highest in demand of the four types and are sold in the largest quantities. Alfalfa is a high fiber, high protein hay that is the most popular with animals that need concentrated nutrition or are lactating and need to maintain a high nutrient intake. This type of hay is most popularly used on dairy cows, cattle farms, and other common farm animals. Timothy hay is used to feed the high quality racehorses because it maintains the horse’s lean and muscular physique while also giving it the right amount of nutrients to perform at optimum levels. Put into laymen’s terms by an article from HAYUSA, “You can’t put regular gas into a Ferrari. Apply that theory to your horses,” (HAYUSA Inc., 2012). Prices are driven up on Timothy hay when a certain horse continues to win races. When breeders find out where the winning breeder is getting his/her hay from, floods of orders begin to come into that one company. There is a superstition among them that you are what...

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