The Superior Farms Pet Provisions Team
Gary Pfeiffer, President:
Growing up on a large working ranch in central California gave me an appreciation for both the importance of agriculture to our country’s economy and the need to develop healthy and sustainable food products to feed our families for generations to come. After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Business Management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I began a career in the food business that would encompass fresh produce and naturally raised meat for both retail and restaurants. I have spent the past twenty years focusing on the lamb industry developing new products and building relationships within the agriculture and food industry around the world.
Over the past several years, my family has adopted two rescue dogs, Roger and Ellie, who have always been crazy about any lamb that I would bring home for dinner. This was the spark of an idea. Lamb has been the preferred meat of humankind since the beginning of time and dogs and cats have always enjoyed sharing those tasty tidbits of lamb with their owners, so we should make tasty chews and treats from pure animal protein and made to the same standards as the food we feed our families.
This idea was the beginning of Superior Farms Pet Provisions, a pet treat company founded by two of the leading producers of lamb and venison in the USA and New Zealand. Our products come from our own farms and processing facilities and we cook, pack and process the products ourselves for complete control over product quality and safety. I am proud to offer to you treats and chews that I know your pets will love from a source you can trust.
Arnie Ellis, Director of Operations:
Throughout my childhood and into adulthood, dogs have always been a part of my life. I’ve owned all types of dogs, big ones and small ones and everything in between. As a child, I spent a lot of time with Brandy, my trusted Saint Bernard who gave us a heavy dose of love but also heartache, as she seemed to have a knack for running into things, namely moving vehicles! Patch after patch, she kept going and never let her injuries and subsequent repairs, slow her down. What a change it was to have my little Yorkie, Buca, come along later in life. He was a loyal companion, never missing an opportunity to accompany me for a walk on the beach or a drive around town with the top down in the convertible. He was also not a fan of thunderstorms which made for many a night with him shivering in my bed through the loud bangs and booms of a good Eastern storm. Almost immediately these pets become more like family members and you want to give them all the comforts that you can afford, including high quality pet treats.
Over this same course of time, I worked for or managed the manufacturing, distribution and warehousing divisions of several great companies all focused on food/perishable products, including Superior Farm’s Boston division. This gave me working knowledge of the food/meat industry especially lamb, and a keen understanding of how warehousing, quality control, customer service and logistics work. I understand the importance of operations and service and the need to be able to produce and deliver quality items every time regardless of whom or what is consuming the product.
When approached by Superior Farms to rejoin their team in the role of Director of Operations for their pet treat division, it seemed like a perfect fit, affording me an opportunity to combine my love for animals with my professional skills and experience and be a part of something great. SFPP is my chance to produce and distribute products from our state-of-the-art packaging and distribution facility that we can stand behind and be proud to offer pet owners everywhere. I take great pride in knowing that the work that we do everyday finds its way to households across the nation and that pet owners can feel confident that SFPP treats and chews are nutritious, safe, flavorful and wholesome every time.
Melissa VanLaningham, DVM, On-Staff Veterinarian:
I grew up on a hay and cattle ranch in northern California. I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t have at least one dog by my side – either my sheltie Nick or Rowdy our old cow dog or one of the many other dogs that called our ranch home over the years. And I spent many summers happily searching every nook and cranny of the hay barns hoping to find some wild kitten I could beg my parents to let me make into a pet. I never really outgrew that… My sophomore year I returned to college with a cranky little barn kitten in tow – Tessa was with me for the next 18 years.
I often had classmates ask why I would want the hassle of dealing with a pet while I’m in college… But to me freshman year had been practically unbearable – in the dorms with no pets allowed. The hassle was not having a pet. I definitely did homework better with a cat on my lap!
Unlike most of my friends, I didn’t go to college intending to go onto veterinary school. It wasn’t until I was away from the ranch at school that I realized just how much I enjoyed taking care of all our animals. I graduated with a degree in Agricultural Science and went to work for Superior Farms, eventually working in the Quality Assurance department handling food safety programs. After 3 years I decided to brave college again and returned to UC Davis to earn my degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I kept my hand in the food safety side of things at Superior Farms while I practiced in a mixed animal practice – mainly beef cattle and small animals. I now work exclusively for Superior Farms managing our food safety, quality assurance and research and development programs. I am very excited to be working with Superior Farms Pet Provisions as part of that role. It is the perfect opportunity for me to utilize my food safety expertise to make wonderful treats for the pets that have given me so much throughout my life.
Oh – and in case you are wondering – dogs still play an important role in my personal life. Two roles really; that of companion and work force! My husband, my three boys and I run about 200 head of ewes in our ‘down time’. Our 4 Border Collies make our lives much easier! You can read about 2 of them on the “On Our Packages” section. Do we really need 4? Well no… But to borrow from an old chip commercial : No one can have just one!
Amanda Johns, Customer Service Manager:
I have never known anything less than genuine love from my dogs. Since I can remember we’ve always had one. My first pet was actually around before I came along. His name was Buck and he was the biggest, clumsiest black Labrador I have ever to this day laid eyes on. I look back at photos of him chasing his tail, rolling around in our yard and even sitting with me during tea time. He’s long since passed and as I have grown, several other dogs have come and gone as well. My current dogs make up two fifths of my family. Jake, a Pitbull/Labrador mix came to my husband Steve and I about 8 years ago. We also just recently adopted a Jack Russell who my son Dylan named Hailey. The 5 of us make a great group and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Katie Cassinerio, Animal Nutrition Specialist:
My love for animals began at a very young age. As a young girl, I read any book I could get my hands on that had dogs or horses in it. As a gift I received an Encyclopedia of Dogs and began to learn about the different types and temperaments of dog breeds. When I was seven, a stray black rat terrier followed my brother and I home. This dog, later named Blacky, spent the next 16 years as our family’s beloved pet. He did everything with us from irrigating corn fields with my Dad to riding a bicycle with my brother. He became more than a pet, he became a part of the family.
Since having Blacky, I have had other pets, some who came with me to Northern California to attend school at UC Davis, where I received a BS in Animal Science. While working on my undergraduate degree in Animal Science, I discovered the world of nutrition and had finally found my life’s work. I furthered my education and obtained a Masters in Animal Biology, where I emphasized in Animal Nutrition. I am very interested in the proper nutritional balance for both people and animals. I believe that natural is best whenever it is possible and strive to have a healthy, active lifestyle for myself and my pets.
I currently have two pets, which I refer to as “my boys.” Roadie, a male Queensland Heeler and Terrier mixed breed, and a male horse named Rowdy. Roadie and Rowdy make a great pair and we all enjoy going on long trail rides together.
I am passionate about the health, nutrition, and well-being of all animals, and am excited to promote healthful, natural, wholesome treats for your pets.
Rachele Lema - Product Manager:
I’ve always had a love for all animals, big or small. In fact, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t trying to convince my parents to let me take in one animal or another. I got my first pet, a beautiful white cat named “Sweet Pea” when I was five-years old. Shortly after that we moved from town, out to the country and our family of pets began to grow. Our first dog, “Emma”, a Rough Collie, was the gentlest, most mothering dog I’ve ever known. She followed us everywhere and made sure we were always safe and happy. We had “Emma” for 10 years when I brought home a new addition; a six-week-old Border Collie named “Maggie”, who quickly became my best friend. Throughout High School “Maggie” was my permanent side-kick, and even after I left for college, her favorite pastime was going for a truck ride whenever I came home to visit.
Throughout the years, besides our loyal canines, I’ve been known to adopt any two-or-four-legged critter that needed a family; Homing pigeons, dairy heifers, rabbits, barn cats, baby turkeys, and a couple of bummer lambs that have evolved into a small, working flock of sheep--all creatures great and small found companionship at our house.
After high school I left home to attend UC Davis, where I received my BS in June of 2012. As a student in the Animal Science Department my love of animals continued to grow, and eventually the need to have a companion led to the adoption of my dog, Shilo, who has become my partner in crime, showering me with constant love and affection, and happily going wherever I ask; in addition to hiking, camping, visits to the beach and our evening jog, he eagerly makes the 5-hour car trip home to Ferndale without a complaint. Shilo is such a good sport he’s even learned to love the newest member of our family, my cat Chupacabra.
Animals have always been a big part of my life and I’m excited to help bring the four-legged members of your family the healthy and natural treats we provide at Superior Farms Pet Provisions!