Publications and Press Releases

Freeport, IL, December 6, 2017:  Furst-McNess Company has acquired Big Gain Wisconsin LLC, based out of Lodi, Wisconsin as of December 6, 2017, having recently signed a merger and acquisition agreement.  The agreement joins two already-strong livestock feed and nutrition companies into one that will be better suited to serve the needs of the livestock producers in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. This agreement does not include Big Gain, Inc. business based in Mankato, Minnesota.  “Furst-McNess and Big Gain Wisconsin have unique strengths that are complimentary to each other, and this agreement will allow us to truly deliver exceptional products and services to our customers,” according to Dwayne Schultz, President of Big Gain Wisconsin.  “I’m excited about how this agreement will provide Big Gain Wisconsin with a solid continuation plan for the business.” Schultz will continue to run the daily operations in Lodi, and all staff will be retained.  Kevin Gyland, Executive Vice President of Furst-McNess is equally excited about the agreement. “Big Gain is known for their quality products and manufacturing excellence, and this agreement will allow McNess to fill gaps we’ve had in regional manufacturing, bring on exceptional talent, and become even more competitive in the market place,” states Gyland.  “Big Gain Wisconsin has outstanding people, and their culture is a mirror image of ours, which makes this agreement so beneficial to both companies.”  

Matt Heinrich, President and CEO of Furst-McNess sees this acquisition generating a real push in the Midwest noting, “With the manufacturing capabilities of Big Gain Wisconsin, and the livestock nutritional expertise of Furst-McNess, this acquisition creates opportunities that previously didn’t exist.  Everyone is extremely excited about the capabilities that will emerge from joining the two organizations.”

Big Gain Wisconsin was established in 2000 when Big Gain, Inc. and Dwayne Schultz formed a partnership, and opened the Lodi facility.   Big Gain Wisconsin has a strong dealership network, and sells livestock and other animal feed. Big Gain Wisconsin has manufacturing facilities in Lodi and Seneca, WI and a retail location in Benton, WI; they have about 100 employees.  

Furst-McNess Company was founded in 1908 selling home products door-to-door, and entered the livestock nutrition business in 1958.  McNess sells livestock nutritional products, as well as commodities and feed ingredients throughout the U.S., Canada, and selected overseas markets.  McNess is headquartered in Freeport, IL, and has manufacturing facilities in Storm Lake, IA, Gering, NE, Eleroy, IL, Lake City, FL, Montezuma, GA, and Cordele, GA, and sales offices in Johnston, IA and Ingersoll, ON.  Furst-McNess has 250 employees.

Customers of both companies will see added benefits, including increased product diversity, nutritional support and expertise, enhanced manufacturing capabilities, and other support services.  Existing contacts across both companies will remain the same.  For more information, please email


Furst-McNess (McNess) is proud to announce the opening of a state-of-the-art Livestock Nutrition Research and Development (R&D) laboratory in our Freeport, IL office.  The R&D laboratory will be using in vitro gas production technologies for the evaluation, development and refinement of new and existing propriety McNess products, feed ingredients and feed additives.  The development of new feeds and feeding programs, along with analytical development for measuring nutrients, will enhance the production of meat and milk for human consumption while reducing the cost of production.

The value of the laboratory to McNess will be the development of new and tested McNess propriety products, intellectual knowledge for how to feed which and what products and support of current specific products being marketed.  In addition, the development of new nutritional parameters is envisioned for enhancing nutritional models to enhance livestock performance yielding improved returns for our producers.

The mission of the laboratory is to provide the tools, resources and capabilities for the R&D of new feeding recommendations, results and data for marketing McNess programs and stand-alone products for McNess’s Livestock Business Units.  The goals of these recommendations will be to reduce the cost of producing meat, milk and other animal proteins for human consumption, while increasing the overall profitability for our producers.

Analytical capabilities that will be immediately available include: near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) analyses of feed commodities and identification of value-added ingredients and valuable sources of ingredients.  Rate and extent of ruminal nutrient digestion using ruminal fluid from rumen cannulated cows for measuring the digestion of feeds and commodities with or without feed additives, such as Equalize™, Nutrifen™, GoldPro™, Expelled Cottonseed, Silage Inoculants and others, measurements of volatile fatty acids due to feeds and feed additives, building of nutrient databases based on nutrient and digestibility concentrations.  Additionally, standard laboratory equipment supports the need for drying, grinding and weighing out samples for analytical determinations.

The laboratory will be under the direction of Dr. David Casper and Ms. Kayla Hultquist, M.S..  If you have any questions regarding the use of the Laboratory, please contact Dr. Casper at or 815-990-2269.

PRESS RELEASE – September 19, 2016
Furst-McNess and Micron Bio-Systems are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement that will enhance both company’s research and development efforts within the areas of Feed and Forage Preservation, which includes researching and understanding Feed Quality, Molds and Mycotoxins. Both companies have a keen understanding of the needs in this market, and through the application of their core competencies in the advanced sciences and research and development, cutting edge product-based technologies and species-specific programs such as the McNess Equalize™ and Micron’s Ultrasorb™ product lines, have already been developed and proving themselves in the market place.    

“Combining Micron’s core competencies in microbiology, biochemistry, enzymology and immunology, along with McNess’ expertise in research and development and their strong market presence, makes all the sense in the world,” according to Bob Rhoades, V.P. and General Manager of Micron Bio-Systems. “We are confident that by working together we’ll be able to do something remarkable in the market,” he added.

 "This agreement provides Furst-McNess and Micron Bio-Systems the ability to drive advancements in our Swine, Beef, and Dairy technologies that will result in improved livestock performance and sustained feed quality for our customers,” says Dr. Fredrik Sandberg, Director of Research and Development for Furst-McNess.  "Dr. Ralph Randall, our Southeast U.S. Dairy Nutritionist, and our newest Dairy team member, Dr. Dave Casper, will be very involved in our product development efforts, as both companies have a passion for developing cutting edge technologies that will help improve our customers’ bottom line.” Sandberg added.

The needs within the Feed and Forage Preservation, Mycotoxin Remediation and Nutraceuticals markets are growing every year, and through focused research efforts and strong customer relationships, McNess and Micron hope to be on the leading edge of this important effort. 

“We’ve been working together for over 15 years, and this just makes sense,” says Steve England, V.P. of Furst-McNess Company. “Our goal is in meeting the needs of producers and bringing solutions to the table which maximize animal performance and customer profits, and our team is doing just that,” England added. 

Micron Bio-Systems is based in the US and the UK, and has offices and presence around the world, including Russia and Asia, and an international leader in biotechnology, employing experts in microbiology, enzymology, biochemistry, and immunology to develop product-based solutions.   Furst-McNess has been serving the agriculture community since 1908, and operates throughout the U.S. and Canada, providing nutritional feeding solutions to the dairy, beef, swine and poultry markets.   To find out more about either company, visit their websites at or  You can also email

PRESS RELEASE – November 2, 2015
Furst-McNess Company, a livestock feed and nutrition company which provides a variety of feedstuffs, services, and programs to the dairy, beef, swine, and poultry industries throughout the U.S. and Canada, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Swartz Ag manufacturing facility in Montezuma, GA effective November 2, 2015.

“We are thrilled with this acquisition,” said Joel Reed, Vice President of Furst-McNess. “We have worked closely with Swartz and their employees over the past several years, and this acquisition is a natural fit for our company."

Furst-McNess is a family-owned business founded in 1908.  This new manufacturing facility for Furst-McNess produces crude and refined cottonseed oil, and cotton cake, which is used to make several pelleted, cubed, and tub products.  In addition, the Montezuma facility is capable of producing dairy-quality ground corn. 

Furst-McNess will retain employees currently working at the facility. “Our company just got stronger.” according to Reed, “We’ve added exceptional talent and manufacturing capabilities to our company through this acquisition, which will in turn bring additional value to our customers."

Call Ray Goodwin at 478-298-4725 for more information. 

PRESS RELEASE – September 18, 2015
Research Confirms All-Natural Alternative For Finishing Pigs - New research shows Lean Fuel™ as an exceptional tool for finish pigs

Freeport, IL, September 18, 2015: Furst-McNess has spent the last five years developing, improving, and researching an all-natural complete feeding program that includes several technologies for Sows (Nature’s Fuel™), Nursery Pigs (Wean Fuel™) and Finishing Pigs (Lean Fuel™) that will support the long-term sustainability of the North American swine industry. As the demand for antibiotic-free, animal protein-free, and ractopamine-free pork continues to increase at an exceptional rate, a cost-effective, all-natural alternative to maintain the performance of finishing pigs is needed. Furst-McNess has developed Lean Fuel™, a Patent Pending Technology through an extensive research program that included research conducted in the field, and as formal research.  Lean Fuel™ is used as a tool to maintain feed consumption and support essential nutrient intake to maintain performance and health in pigs. Research has shown that fat quality (measured by Iodine Value), both in belly and jowl, can be maintained to support packer and consumer demands. As our industry moves away from antibiotics, and an increasing pressure is placed on the use of ractopamine, alternatives are needed to optimize feed and essential nutrient intake of pigs to support performance, and allow the utilization of highly cost-effective by-product feeding ingredients without loss of performance.

Learn more about our Research Facility through this brief video.

For more information about Lean Fuel™ or to request a consultation and review of the research, contact Furst-McNess at, or call 815-232-9868.  

Click here to view the press release in PDF format.