Reputation Matters

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.

The name “Blue Seal” was adopted by the H.K. Webster Company in 1910 to identify its high-quality feeds for 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 more mechanization and automated systems. In the 1920s, the company installed molasses mixing equipment, the first of its kind in New England.

Like the pioneering spirit of our founder, Blue Seal progress has never faltered. His leadership was key to the success of the Blue Seal brand, and the basis for its reputation of quality, service and trust.

h k webster founder blue seal 1

This culture of innovation has resulted in one breakthrough after another; and it is a culture that has held up well under the test of time.

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.

1868

H.K. Webster Company is founded by Henry Kingman Webster when he sets up shop in a gristmill along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts, focusing on quality horse feeds.

1868 Blue Seal

1890

H.K. Webster Company expands to a new facility at 24 West St., Lawrence, Massachusetts.

1910

Dean K. Webster, son of the founder, introduces the name Blue Seal for its horse, poultry, and dairy feeds and later installs a “batch” mixer in the H.K Webster Co. warehouse for the mechanical blending of feed products.

photo of Dean K. Webster

1924

Blue Seal installs a molasses mixing plant, the first in New England. This year also marks entry into the wholesale and mixed-car feed and grain business. During this time, the third generation of Websters — Dean Kingman Jr. and Walter Neal — join the company.

1925

Sterilizing equipment is added to treat returning feed containers to maintain quality.

1928

Blue Seal hires a poultry nutrition specialist who authors the Blue Seal Poultry Manual. The company soon adds a dairy nutritionist, who goes on to compile the Blue Seal Dairy Instruction Manual. Their expertise is made available to customers. 

Chick Starter bag

1937

An extensive belt conveyor system is added to carry bagged feeds directly from mixing machines to rail cars at the Websters’ own switch track. 

Blue Seal 1937

1941

The Quaker Oats plant in Richford, Vermont, is acquired to manufacture Blue Seal products. Sales increased by 50% the first year. 

Blue Seal

1950

The fourth generation of the Webster family — Dean K. III and R. Kingman “King” — became active in the company. 

Kingman and Webster

1956

A record 200,000 tons of feed were manufactured by Blue Seal.

1956 Blue Seal

1962

Blue Seal Feeds adopts the slogan, “Your Partner in Progress.”

1964

The first Blue Seal “Satellite Mill” was constructed for unpelleted poultry feeds. Satellite plants could be operated by a single person (the bulk truck driver) and were completely automated, from unloading of ingredients to loading of finished feed. 

1964 Blue Seal

1967

Improved dairy and equine feed formulas are developed. A greater emphasis was placed on growing the dairy feed business. The first pelleted dairy feed “Satellite Mill” was constructed.

1970

A Specialty Feeds Dept. was established to serve the emerging food market for dogs, horses, rabbits, wild birds, and backyard farm animals.

1976

A new Blue Seal logo is introduced and Blue Seal launches remodeled company-owned “Feeds & Needs” stores to provide its animal feeds and foods as well as lawn and garden and other products to New England customers. 

1976 Blue Seal

1977

A pet food plant is added to the Richford location.

1979

Blue Seal develops an innovative dairy feeding program based on Energizer 20 Dairy Pellets, which allows personalized customization of bulk rations for herds.

1980

Bow, New Hampshire Facility opens.

1981

Arcade, New York mill constructed, including pet food extruder and baking facility.

photo of mill in Arcade, NY

1988

More than 100 years after its start, the H.K. Webster Company became Blue Seal Feeds when it was acquired by Varied Investments, Inc., the predecessor of Kent Corporation in Muscatine, Iowa.

Blue Seal logo

1989

Blue Seal begins manufacturing dog biscuits in the Arcade, New York mill.

1989

1990

Blue Seal Feeds reaches another milestone, producing a record 700,000 tons of manufactured feeds.

1994

Blue Seal moves its offices from Lawrence, Massachusetts to a new facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

1994 Blue Seal

1997

First feed shipped from the fourth full-line mill in Hagerstown, Maryland, built to support new business in the Mid-Atlantic area. 

Blue Seal

2004

The Blue Seal manufacturing facility in Bow, New Hampshire is awarded 2004 Feed Mill of the Year! “Safety Is a Way of Life” for the employees running three shifts, six days a week. The 63-year-old plant operates at more than 90% capacity. Nine Blue Seal plants supply over 1280 stores in the Northeast. 

2004 1

2006

A 60,000 square foot warehouse is constructed in Arcade, NY to serve as a Distribution Center.

2009

A new line of extruded horse feed — Sentinel — is introduced to consumers.

Blue Seal Sentinel bags

2010

Blue Seal Feeds of Londonderry, New Hampshire, and Kent Feeds, Inc. of Muscatine, Iowa, merge to form Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. (KNG). KNG was created to bring out the best in these two highly successful regional feed companies.

Kent Nutrition Group "combo" logo

2014

The Blue Seal plant in Hagerstown, Maryland is awarded 2014 Runner-Up Feed Mill of the year. To ensure food and feed safety, the Hagerstown plant is certified in AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program. Applicants were evaluated based on feed safety, overall awareness of food safety, quality, regulatory compliance and operating efficiencies. 

2014 Blue Seal

2015

Kent Nutrition Group introduces a new modified regional brand strategy making Blue Seal the KNG brand in the Eastern United States and Kent the KNG brand in the Midwest. 

2015 Kent Blue Seal

2017

Blue Seal launches two new product family brands and packaging for EnTrust™ pet food and Inspire™ horse feeds. 

EnTrust and Inspire bags

2017

A new, state-of-the-art swine research facility opened at the Kent Nutrition Group Product Development Center. 

swine research facility

2017

Kent Corporation, parent company of Kent Nutrition Group (KNG), makes an $8 million commitment to the new Grain Science and Feed Mill facility at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa. 

2017 Gage Kent

2018

Kent Corporation, parent company of Kent Nutrition Group (KNG), opens the Kent Innovation Center on the Research Park campus of Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa. 

2018 Innovation Center