With 13 manufacturing facilities in the Midwest and on the East Coast, Kent Nutrition Group’s formulation department is laser-focused on getting every ingredient – for every feed – just right. This is a responsibility Mary Schroeder has taken on in the operation’s department for almost three years, no matter the customer, complexity or challenge. She previously worked in the nutrition department where she held roles as Product & Registrations Manager and Product Coordinator. She has worked at KNG for over 19 years.
“I want all eyes on the product, all the time,” she says. “We take pride in the fact that nothing goes out the door without three or four sets of eyes on it.”
Schroeder grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, the youngest of four children, on a diversified farming operation, which led to her passion in 4-H and FFA. She helped her sister, Edie, start and grow Edie’s Eggs where they became licensed to sell their bounty to restaurants. Schroeder was part of the largest FFA chapter in Iowa, and worked on a dairy calf project in which she purchased, raised and sold 5-10 bull calves a year. Her advisor challenged her to learn how to run a business by calculating feed costs and applying practical operations.
“That was when I could see the possibilities in my future,” she says.
The relationships and skills she built through high school led Schroeder to Iowa State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Animal Nutrition, with a focus on Ruminant Nutrition. After two years working as a feed formulator for a different company, Schroeder says her childhood roots drew her back to Muscatine – and KNG.
“I’ve always known about Kent, and they’ve always been on a pedestal for me,” she says. “It’s a family-owned company that puts its name on every product. They stand 100 percent behind everything they sell.”
Today Schroeder oversees a formulation team that works with Kent’s nutritionists to develop new products, deliver new formulas to manufacturing facilities and evaluate costs for each ingredient.
“The nutritionists are the engineers who do the templates for the formulas. The formulas then go through the formulation team where any plant specific modifications are made before the formulas are implemented to the manufacturing facilities,” she says. “And it works, beautifully.”
Mary lives in Muscatine, Iowa with her husband, Jami, a 5th grade teacher, and their four children. When he’s not teaching, Mr. Schroeder is a well-known local auctioneer. They enjoy traveling, but mostly watching their kids play in sports through every season, from basketball to track, softball to volleyball and baseball to football.