The Lakin Story

 

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Family owned and operated since 1960

Lloyd Lakin (Chuck Lakin’s father) bought 920 acres of wasteland called Hearsh Slough located in the southwest valley. Originally he built blinds for duck hunting which was very successful for a short time until the depression hit. Just before Chuck returned from the service in 1946 his father used the ample water rights that came with the land to begin the process of turning this wasteland into farm land. He cleared a few acres and started raising cross-bred cows.

Once Chuck returned from the service his job was to continue to clear and level the remaining 900 acres of land. This was no easy task as there were acres of mesquite trees and the grade of the land varied tremendously. Using some pretty unsophisticated farm equipment it took him 15 years to accomplish this task. At that time leveling was done strictly by “eyeballing” the land. They would continually take from high areas to fill the low areas until they were able to successfully irrigate each acre. After much research and experimenting they were able to produce 800 acres of bermuda grass.

In 1960 Chuck’s father read about the process of grinding and pelletizing of Bermuda hay. Chuck went to California to visit some of these types of mills, which were being used mostly for export to Japan and not for domestic use. Chuck took pictures, made notes, drew diagrams and came back to Arizona to build his own pellet mill. The mill has been upsized throughout the years, to accommodate the tremendous demand for pellets, however, they are still using the same base mill engineered by Chuck many years ago.

After some challenges with feeding pellets to their cattle Chuck tried the new pellets on his own quarter horses and was amazed by the results. He knew he had something great to offer the horse community. Even though Chuck’s father was skeptical Chuck was convinced he could overcome the resistance from the horsemen community and get them to try feeding pellets to their horses. That confidence along with some excellent marketing techniques finally paid off – veterinarians and race horse owners were amazed with the results!

Although Lakin Milling is very successful today it wasn’t easy or a quick success. Chuck wasn’t stopping at just any kind of pellet – he wanted to produce the best. Once again, in keeping with the philosophy of only producing the highest quality horse feed, Chuck partnered with internationally renowned, KER Equine Research Inc. Over several years, they worked together to create four separate formulas in order to meet the needs of most types of horses.

In 1985 Chuck entrusted his business to Bob Giocomo, a young man with a business finance degree. Along with Chuck's oversight, Bob took Lakin Milling and Lakin Cattle Company to a higher level. With the introduction of land acquisitions Lakin farm is now approximately 2000 acres.  In addition to Lakin Milling’s extensive domestic client base, Bob has developed relationships with companies over seas and is now selling Lakin pelleted horse feed internationally.

To help maintain quality control, Lakin Cattle Company grows all of their own bermuda and more than a third of their own alfalfa. Most importantly, the Lakins have never wavered from their philosophy of maintaining a strict standard of business ethics – to continue to use only the highest quality raw materials and the latest scientific technology, and give back to the community.

Arizona – California – New Mexico – Texas