American Natural Soy, a manufacturer of organic oilseeds, is the October Renew Rural Iowa entrepreneur of the month winner. The successful oilseed crush and refining facility at Cherokee in northwest Iowa was founded eight years ago by farmers and grain mill owners, Mark and Julie Schuett.
When American Natural Soy first opened its doors to process organic seeds, it had eight employees. But the company expanded its employee base and plant offerings when it caught the eye of cosmetic giant Este Lauder.
'Este Lauder was looking for organic soy lecithin for its Origins Organics body lotion and facial moisturizer line. With the addition of that client and many more, American Natural Soy is now the world’s largest manufacturer of organic soy lecithin, a chemical-free, natural emulsifier used for both food and cosmetic products,' says Mark Schuett, American Natural Soy co-founder and president.
Profitable for the founder, helps entire community
'This company is a great role model for rural entrepreneurs who have a great idea, but need help to get past those first hurdles and grow their business into something that’s not only profitable for the founder, but helping the entire community,' says Renew Rural Iowa outreach coordinator, Sandy Ehrig. 'The Iowa Farm Bureau is happy to honor American Natural Soy not only for their economic success and commitment to customer satisfaction but because they also are paving a ‘green path’ for the future by earning kudos for their work to reduce plant emissions.'
The plant is growing to meet consumer demand for organic products, having just invested in a significant organic oil refining expansion doubling capacity. Many companies have worked with Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program to assist in the capital investment and expansion planning phase.
Business mentoring and financial advice are the cornerstones of the Renew Rural Iowa program and their Business Success seminars, which are held with co-hosts around the state, says Ehrig. The next Business Success Seminar, designed to enhance the enterprise value of existing or new small town businesses, will be held in Adel in March. To register online or co-host one in your area, visit www.renewruraliowa.com or call 800-254-9670.