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“Insect Farm” Produces Exotic Pet Food
Timberline Fisheries was founded in 1973 by Ray Goodman as a seasonal live bait and tackle shop. Since then, the business has become one of the largest suppliers of live insects in the United States, shipping its insects to multiple zoos, every Petco, and half the PetSmart stores nationwide.
Despite this increase in scale, Timberline has maintained its roots as a Southern Illinois business. Today, Ray’s son Todd Goodman runs the insect empire.
Todd has many reasons for moving out of the bait business and into pet food. For one, the market for bait tends to be seasonal and localized. In other words, there isn’t much room for expansion. Decades ago, he attended an exotic pet food show that opened his eyes to a new business angle - pet food.
The pivot led to a dramatic increase in Timberline’s scale, shifting it from a business of about ten employees to over 160 employees today. The 250,000 sq. ft. facility in Marion, IL, raises crickets, wax worms, mealworms, and other feeder insects. Timberline ships out millions of insects per week, sending out three tractor-trailer loads of live insects daily and goes through more than 40 tons of specially formulated grain feed each week. An additional thirty tons of insect waste is collected each week, after which it is hauled off for use by local farmers as a natural fertilizer.
While the livestock might be small, Timberline treats their health and diet quality as a top concern. The company aims to mimic the mix of grasses and other plants each insect would forage for in the wild. This was partly accomplished through a partnership with Purina over two decades ago, which led to the development of a proprietary feed of ground grain wetted with nutrients and re-dried.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Timberline, 201 E. Timberline Dr., Marion, IL. 62959 (ph 618-997-9311 or 800-423-2248; www.timberlinefresh.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #2