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Not horsing around: Fornazor is a solid global player

Hillsdale company turned animal feed into $100M business

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John Fornazor, owner, Fornazor International: “Everything about me, my family and friends is New Jersey.”
John Fornazor, owner, Fornazor International: “Everything about me, my family and friends is New Jersey.” - (PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

Do you know what the state animal of New Jersey is?

Here are a few hints:

It has an economic impact of $1.1 billion in the Garden State, according to industry data. It generates the equivalent of more than 9,500 jobs.

Nearly 56,000 New Jerseyans are involved in the industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.

And Fornazor International, a Hillsdale-based company, has been providing custom feed for them for more than five decades.

That's right — the official state animal of New Jersey is the horse, and Fornazor International President John Fornazor knows just how to profit from it. The company has more than $100 million in annual revenue.

“We're honest and sometimes companies pay more to buy from us because they know they're going to get exactly what they bought,” he said. “We ship what we sell; we don't adulterate product.”

Fornazor International supplies a wide range of feed ingredients to the export market, including animal, vegetable and marine proteins, aquaculture feeds, pet foods, alfalfa pellets, forage grass, bakery ingredients, specialty foods and, of course, equine supplements and feeds.

Because it owns and operates U.S. export terminals for rail, truck and ocean freight transport, Fornazor International also is considered one of the top 100 exporters from the U.S., according to the Journal of Commerce.

And after forging a technology and marketing partnership with Hallway Feeds, a Kentucky producer of racehorse feed, Fornazor International can officially call itself a provider of feed for Kentucky Derby-winning horses such as California Chrome and Orb, last year's winner of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

But if you think the business in the U.S. is good, keep in mind that Fornazor International's biggest markets are in the Middle East (30 percent) and Southeast Asia (30 percent), followed by South America (25 percent), Northeast Asia (10 percent) and elsewhere (5 percent).

For the last three years, Fornazor International has grown in revenue 20 percent.

“All the projects our company has been working on for years all came together in a perfect storm,” Fornazor said.

Fornazor joined the then-15-year-old company in 1979 — when it operated under a different name — and helped the original owner evolve the business until he died in 1987.

Fornazor now runs the multimillion-dollar rebranded business with his wife Peggy in accounting, his son John Jr. in grain trading and his daughter Lauren in human resources.

And he's proud to do it here.

“I was born and raised (in New Milford) so everything about me, my family and friends is New Jersey — and this is where I'll stay,” he said.

In fact, while the company has production plants in Virginia, Georgia and Kansas, Fornazor said he is looking into bringing some facilities back into the state.

The company also is thinking globally: It's currently working on a joint venture with the Brazilian government to purchase grain and feed, setting up offices in Ukraine and discussing franchise opportunities in Sri Lanka.

E-mail to: megf@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @megfry3

THE BIZ IN BRIEF

COMPANY: Fornazor International
HEADQUARTERS: Hillsdale
FOUNDED: 1987
EXECUTIVE: John Fornazor Sr.
ONE MORE THING: Lauren Fornazor majored in psychology and minored in sociology to prepare for her role in the family business: “To walk away from all of the opportunities here in the successful business my father built would be nothing short of foolish.” Though she currently works in HR, Lauren is particularly interested in learning trading — the craft of the business — in order to continue growing the company with her brother John and follow in their father’s footsteps.

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Meg Fry

Meg Fry

Meg Fry covers manufacturing and retail. Meg joins NJBIZ with past production experience in the arts, film and television. She continues to write and market her own spec scripts and screenplays. You can contact her at megf@njbiz.com or @MegFry3 on Twitter.

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