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A Swheat Expansion

Detroit Lakes, Minn. — Minnesota’s most unique pet litter producer is expanding its Detroit Lakes operation, creating additional space and jobs.

Farmers Union Industries says it is pouring $4.25 million into its Pet Care Systems facility where Swheat Scoop cat litter is produced. Swheat Scoop is made from naturally-processed secondary wheat, which is not typically used for food. Beside cat litter, Pet Care Systems also manufactures litter for horses and small animals.

“This is an investment in our employees, the community of Detroit Lakes and agriculture,” says Don Davis, Farmers Union Industries president and CEO. The company first invested in Pet Care Systems in 2002 and later assumed full ownership.

In August, construction started on the facility’s expansion that includes 21,000 square feet of warehousing for inventory and logistics. The investment will double production capacity from about 55,000 bushels to 100,000 bushels of wheat per month to make litter.

Farmers Union Industries expects to add five jobs at the facility and possibly more as production and sales grow. Currently Pet Care Systems employs 26 people in Detroit Lakes and a national sales force of eight.

AURI has worked with Pet Care Systems since the 1990s and named the company “Ag Innovator of the Year” in 2002 — the first year the award was given. “Pet Care Systems continues to grow and provide jobs and add value to agriculture,” says AURI scientist Alan Doering who helped test and develop several product formulations in the Waseca coproduct utilization lab. The company “is a shining example of innovative, value-added agriculture and … how AURI can assist Minnesota companies.”

Established in 1994 by Mike, Vonnie and Mark Hughes, Pet Care Systems developed wheat-based litter that is scoopable, flushable and reduces odor — as an alternative to clay-based litters. Today Swheat Scoop is available in thousands of stores nationwide including Target, Petco, PetSmart, several major grocery chains, specialty shops and other pet stores.