Posted on May 1, 2018
A reputation is not a gift — it is earned over time. Henry Kingman (H. K.) Webster had already proven himself an ambitious young entrepreneur by 1868, when at the age of 23, he “embarked in the grain business on his own account, hiring a grist mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts” where he began manufacturing his own brand of quality feeds to meet the demands of the “horse and buggy” era.
This seemingly ordinary transaction launched four generations of leadership in the H. K. Webster Company, a pioneering enterprise in the New England states; and eventually Blue Seal, the most trusted animal nutrition brand in the Northeast.
His leadership was key to the success of the Blue Seal brand, and the basis for its reputation of quality, service, and trust. Today, Blue Seal builds on that reputation by delivering superior animal nutrition products. Like our founder, we focus on innovation, research, manufacturing, and service. That’s how Blue Seal earned a reputation that people trust — generation after generation.
A Reputation For Quality
H.K. Webster first provided his customers high-quality feed for horses, earning their business and their trust, but with the advent of automobiles and mechanized farming, the need for horses and horse feeds dropped. Fortunately, the company had the foresight to widen its quality nutrition offerings and expanded with a strong presence in poultry and dairy feeds. So the continued success of the business prompted ongoing expansions to meet the need for more quality feeds.
It started with the installation of molasses mixing equipment, the first in New England. The addition of molasses improved performance and customer profitability. H.K. Webster Company continued making quality improvements with the addition of sterilization equipment for returning feed containers to ensure that Blue Seal feeds and grains were free of any disease or impurities.
Growing its nutritional expertise, H.K. Webster was the first feed company in the Northeast to hire a poultry nutrition specialist. To complement its quality poultry nutrition products, the company produced a management manual. Soon, a dairy nutritionist was added to improve product formulations and compile the Blue Seal Dairy Instruction Manual.
A Reputation For innovation
The name “Blue Seal” was adopted by the H. K. Webster Company in 1910 to identify its high-quality feeds for dairy, poultry, and livestock. Implementation of a “batch” mixer for the mechanical blending of products was one of the earliest attempts in the Northeast to provide scientifically formulated feeds for livestock. This was the beginning of a string of innovations that included mechanization and automated systems — always at the forefront of current technology.
In the 1920s, the company installed molasses mixing equipment, a first in New England. In the 1960s the first poultry and dairy satellite mills were constructed. These were completely automated from ingredient unloading to finished feed, and could be operated by the bulk truck driver.
The Specialty Feeds department was established in the 1970s to serve the emerging market for dog, horse, rabbit, and wild bird, as well as backyard farm animal products.
Extensive research in poultry feeding began at the Blue Seal Experimental Farm at Pelham, New Hampshire, along with other nutritional studies for the company. In addition, a modern chemical laboratory for quality control and research purposes was maintained at the Lawrence location.
Today, Blue Seal uses a nearly 800-acre Product Development Center (PDC) complex. The PDC is the heart of Kent Nutrition Group (KNG) research and the foundation for developing new product formulations. At this facility, feeding trials are conducted to evaluate feed ingredients and new feed formulas to support overall animal health and improve nutritional efficiency.
The latest research achievement for KNG was the opening of a new swine unit featuring a state-of-the-art feeding system, treatment-specific drinking water plumbing assembly, along with zone-targeted environmental controls, waste management containment, and animal-friendly load out capabilities. This new unit sets the stage for the next generation of swine nutrition research for KNG.
A Reputation For Service
Blue Seal is a regional brand of the New England, mid-Atlantic and adjoining states that’s expanding down the eastern seaboard all the way to Florida. This regional focus allows us to be more responsive to customers, so we can provide the nutrition their animals need in every batch and every bag.
Throughout its history, Blue Seal has made its in-house nutrition experts available to customers, helping them feed their companion animals with the best nutrition for a lifetime of health, or their livestock more cost-effectively while improving their productivity.