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Editor's Note: Bruce Crutcher is president of Trouw Nutrition USA, Highland, Ill. Prior to joining Trouw Nutrition, he worked for ADM Alliance Nutrition as beef business manager. Crutcher has more than 22 years of experience in agriculture, holding positions in agriculture sales, marketing and management.

AM: What are the primary markets for Trouw Nutrition USA?

BC: Trouw Nutrition serves the agriculture and companion animal markets. In the agriculture market, we primarily work with dairy, swine, poultry and turkeys. In the companion animal market, our focus is primarily on dogs, cats and equine.

AM: Does Trouw Nutrition use the same approach for these markets?

BC: While there are a lot of similarities in these markets, there are some unique differences. To service these markets in the most efficient manner to meet customer needs, we have a dedicated sales and production team that focuses on the agriculture market and a dedicated sales and production team that focuses on the companion animal market. This focus allows our teams greater ability to provide targeted solutions, specialty products, custom mixes, expertise and technology necessary to meet the unique customer needs of both of these markets.

AM: What are some marketing tactics that Trouw relies on to communicate to its target audiences?

BC: With specialty products, face-to-face time with your audience is essential. Our highly respected and well-trained sales managers are supported by a strong technical staff consisting of Ph.D.s and/or DVMs. Trouw Nutrition also exhibits at the large shows like Petfood Forum, World Pork Expo and World Dairy Expo. In addition, advertising in leading petfood and livestock magazines supports the face-to-face marketing, and leads generated from advertising and shows are followed up promptly.

AM: How has Trouw incorporated specialty products and custom manufacturing of feed products into its business structure?

BC: Innovative specialty products and custom manufacturing are the backbone of our business and are necessary to meet the needs of today's customers. Specialty products allow Trouw Nutrition to offer differentiation and value-added benefits to our customers, which in turn they use to provide differentiation for their customers. By combining the specialty products with, and in, our custom mixes, it allows our customers a great deal of flexibility in their nutrition programs.

Trouw Nutrition's approach is to "Identify the real needs ... Explore all options ... Customize the solution." We are not pushing general solutions, which often means products, into the market, like so many companies have done in the past. With the information and technology available today, we realize this is not the way to maximize opportunities. Specialty products and custom solutions meet the needs of our customers and help them better target their markets to meet a variety of customer needs.

AM: With the BSE situation and other food safety issues prevalent in our society, what kind of safe feed alternatives does Trouw offer its customers?

BC: Food safety is a continual focus of Trouw Nutrition. Being part of a global company enables us to utilize resources from around the world to develop new products, programs and technologies in a continuing effort to find more effective ways to promote food safety. Trouw Nutrition focuses on ways to improve traceability of ingredients that are utilized in the food chain. An example to enhance the quality of livestock production in a safe manner is our global GreenlineTN concept, which is based on a synergistic blend of natural ingredients to control the gut environment in young animals like calves, piglets and chicks. Our species-dedicated global research centers took the lead in the development of this concept.

AM: What do you want the company to be known for?

BC: The Trouw Nutrition team provides its customers with an innovative total team effort that encompasses every aspect of their business in support of meeting customer needs. They supply high-quality and innovative products, services and solutions that meet and exceed customer needs. If a customer has a question, go to Trouw Nutrition - they will work with, and for, you to find the answer. To sum it up in a short statement - when you are looking for a solution, think: Innovation. That's how. That's Trouw. AM

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