Published on Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:01pm

By Maura Keller

Rio Nutrition is a product of very humble beginnings. What started as a small outfit in a one-car garage in a small town  in Southwest Minnesota, has grown into an innovative company providing cutting-edge nutrition products to the cow-calf industry, as well as backgrounders and yearling operations.

Evolving from product offerings of a single digestion ingredient in its recipes, today Rio Nutrition boasts a 16-component digestion powerhouse in its product base. Over its 15-year-history, Rio replaced the sulfates and oxides in every recipe with a 100% protected trace mineral. Today, Rio Nutrition offers a full range of lick tubs (Riomax) and bagged loose minerals (Riogrande): highly concentrated with a low consumption and a strong focus on improving digestion. They deliver a combination of low input costs and greater output performance.

“We are still a family business and we are very passionate about what we do in terms of helping ranchers across North America. Although we’ve experienced tremendous growth, our commitment, passion and ethics remain unchanged,” says Trevor Greenfield, owner and sales team leader at Rio Nutrition. “Everything we stand for at Rio, it involves working hard, having fun, doing the right thing by the customer, being committed to continuous improvements, and being accountable.”

Back in the one-car garage that Rio Nutrition was founded in, Greenfield told his customers at the time, “If we can’t earn your business, we don’t deserve it.” That adage still rings true today throughout the ever-expanding company, as the Rio Nutrition team works diligently to earn each customer’s trust and help them recognize the partnership that emerges when a rancher turns to Rio Nutrition for their feed program needs.

And that’s what makes Rio Nutrition truly unique. Today, ranchers can visit any feed dealer in their region and walk out with a sales receipt indicating the feed product purchases for their cattle. But Rio Nutrition does it differently. Instead of simply selling “goods” to an ever-changing customer base through a dealer base, Rio Nutrition is comprised of a unique team that works directly, one-on-one, with ranchers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Ranchers work directly with our company so that we can get to know them, their situation, their livestock needs, and their goals. Across North America they experience the commitment and passion of our team  —  as they connect with us, as they visit our web site, call in or see us face-to-face,” Greenfield says. “We are excited about doing the right thing by the customer. That is at the core of our business.”

Specifically, the Rio Nutrition team works with each customer, looking at their operations and making small adjustments that can have a large impact on their profitability.

As Greenfield explains, Rio Nutrition can positively impact conception rates, getting more bred in the first cycle, having more pounds of calves to market in the fall, getting more out of grazing, forages, hay, and improving their land base use.

“We have always been very focused on being the lowest cost per head per day,” Greenfield says. “But don’t try us just because we are the lowest cost per head per day. Try us because of what impact we can make to your profitability. While we are always eager to help people save money, we are more excited to help people make money. And small adjustments can make a big difference.”

Rather than simply peddling feed or selling product, Rio Nutrition recognizes how vital it is to understand each customer’s needs, challenges, what they are trying to get accomplish, their goals, and then Rio lines up those identified issues to provide individualized solutions.

“Our customers love it, because we are not just a ‘one size fits all’ company,” Greenfield says. “We are listening to them and helping them make those little changes where we can get big results. The sale for us is not the end of the road, it’s the beginning. Once a customer buys product from us, that’s when the dialogue begins and we continue to stay in touch to make sure the product is living up to their expectations, making sure the cattle are performing. We keep the communication going long after our product is sold.”

And it is Rio Nutrition’s product base that further makes them unique. Esqort Trace Mineral Technology is Rio Nutrition’s unique blend of protected trace minerals, a combination of zinc, manganese and copper. The synergy of multi-bond chelates and crystal trace minerals provides uninterrupted supply of key trace minerals into the blood stream.

With the Esqort technology, Rio Nutrition can help achieve optimal rumen bypass with the trace minerals reaching the absorption site — the small intestine—and ultimately getting into the blood. This technology ensures the trace minerals move unchanged to the abomasum, where the low pH environment slowly converts each trace mineral into a form that will allow for its absorption within the small intestine.

Rio Nutrition’s Nutrizorb Digestive Enhancers is a powerful synergy of Riomune yeast, enzymes and probiotics — enabling your livestock to get more nutritional “mileage” out of your existing forages. Simply put, Nutrizorb helps unlock the forages so the cattle can absorb far more nutrients, There are 16 key ingredients in the recipe, all designed for effective improved forage breakdown and increased nutrient extraction.


In the Numbers

The main reasons people reach out to Rio Nutrition is to help improve the conception rates in their herd and to get more mileage out of the forages. Conception rates are the biggest measurable in the industry, so as a nutrition company, Rio Nutrition is judged on its ability to help breed up, year in and year out.

“That is where we see some very significant results,” Greenfield says. “The results show how people can improve their breed up, and have more bred in the first cycle, which means more calves and more pounds of calves to market in the fall.”

In the drought of 2012, many ranchers turned to Rio Nutrition because they were short on grass and forages. The company helped these ranchers by better utilizing the resources they did have. It opened many ranchers eyes as to the power of improved digestion.

As Greenfield explains, the secret to this success is Nutrizorb, a digestive tool that is in every product Rio Nutrition sells.

“We are always looking for ways to help ranchers get more out of their land base,” Greenfield says. “We want to help them get more out of what they already have. Nutrition is the key to improving conception rates, but if the minerals aren’t digested or absorbed into the blood stream, your livestock will just have expensive urine.”

That’s why Rio Nutrition has spent over 13 years developing and refining a unique formula that focuses on digestion and nutrition.

“We make sure livestock are getting the right nutrition and then we make sure they are digesting it. It should not be surprising that nutrients have a much bigger impact when they are actually absorbed,” Greenfield says. “Rather than just providing supplements, we are really providing the rancher with tools to better utilize the forages and his land base. We help them make little adjustments that can greatly impact his profitability.”

Greenfield understands that ranchers are always looking for ways to impact their bottom line, and to improve their profits.

“Although the cattle industry has experience relatively good times, I believe that, whether we are in good times or bad, we still need to get the most our of our land base,” Greenfield says. “At Rio, we are all about helping ranchers. It’s a two-way street. We love what we do. . . and our customers do too.”