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Company Profile

Ward V. Rugh, Founder

Ward V. Rugh, Founder

Since the Company was started in 1934, we have witnessed many changes in the growing, harvesting, and marketing of forage crops. In the early years of our company's formation, our primary customers were close to home.

As potential customers saw the benefits of feeding thoroughbred horses forage grown in the Kittitas Valley, the demand for our Company's products increased throughout the United States. Our primary customers were wholesalers that served the major race tracks such as Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, along with tracks in New York, Florida and Kentucky.

In the 70's, the Japanese race horse industry discovered the benefits of Kittitas Valley Timothy hay and started buying limited quantities of the beautiful forage. In 1979, a fumigation protocol for forages such as Timothy was approved by the Japanese government, paving the way for a minimum risk (ship back) method for shipping forages to Japan. For several years most of the Timothy going to Japan was consumed by race horses.

In 1996, the fumigation protocol was extended to double-compressed forages thus reducing ocean freight costs and making Timothy hay affordable to many Dairy farms in Japan.

Our success for over 80-years is the result of providing safe, consistent quality forages for our many customers both in the United States and abroad. We are a “hands-on” supplier that understands the importance of quality control from grower to end-user.

Although Japan has been our Company's major trading partner, other countries such as Korea, Taiwan, China, UAE, Saudia Arabia and Qatar have emerged as major customers for forages from the U.S.  New markets, such as India, are on the horizon.  

Our Hay Growers

In order to produce and market the best quality crops, the growers play a crucial role in the process. Ward Rugh has been cultivating relationships with growers for over 80-years. Many of our over 50-growers are first and second generation growers that we have partnered with starting with the first generation.

In the Kittitas Valley, the primary crop is Timothy hay. And, it is every grower's goal to grow the very best quality possible because they understand that this will result in the greatest financial return.  In the Columbia Basin, growers have many more options for various forages or row crops to plant.    

Ward Rugh hay buyers work continuously with growers to make sure they understand what customers require, and what they do not want to see in terms of quality. We make sure that we live up to our commitments to growers. A simple handshake to us will always be a firm commitment which we will honor.  As a result, our reputation at the grower level is second to none.

Quality Products

To maintain our admired reputation in a very competitive marketplace, we fully realize that we must continue to work even harder. As market conditions and customer demands change, we are committed to adapting to provide whatever it takes to maintain our service and keep our customers satisfied.

Our future is totally dependent on our reputation and stated commitment.

National Hay Association logoAs a member of the National Hay Association and committee member of the U.S. Forage Export Council (a sub-committee of NHA) we are also dedicated to continue to find and adopt ways to improve food safety in forages not only for the animals that consume our products but for the humans that eat the by-products of these animals. This committee (USFEC) works closely with the Japanese import groups and members of the Japanese Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture to accomplish these goals.

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