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Celebrating 61 Years of Kemin Since 1961

The world has transformed since R.W. and Mary Nelson founded Kemin in 1961. 

Our company has also transformed in innumerable ways—our services, technologies, markets, facilities and even our company name have evolved and grown.

Last year we celebrated 61 Years of Kemin Since 1961 by highlighting many of the people, innovations, communities, discoveries, initiatives and milestones behind our story—61 years in the making. 




Looking back at how far we’ve come

From the old wool barn where R.W. mixed his first product in a Maytag® washer and the family home where his wife, Mary, kept the books for the business, a multinational manufacturer emerged, producing more than 500 specialty ingredients, spanning six continents and employing thousands of team members serving more than 120 countries.

While Kemin has transformed products and practices to meet the ever-changing needs of the world, the core beliefs that shaped our company remain our foundation today. 

Molecular Science
Servant Leadership
Community Engagement
Technology and innovation


Today, Kemin strives to sustainably transform the quality of life every day for 80% of the world with our products and services. As originators of countless ingredients that improve the health and lives of humans, pets, production animals and plants, we are focused on expanding our global reach to impact more lives—and we’re not done. We’ll continue to explore, discover, innovate and grow, every day, to cultivate a better tomorrow. 

Dive into the First 61 Years of Our Story


Advancing science, expanding to six continents, creating community around the globe—Kemin has done a lot in just over six decades. Follow the timeline to see just how far we’ve come since 1961.


  • 1961 – R.W. and Mary Nelson founded Kemin Industries—then known as Chemical Industries—to provide feed additives to the Midwest agriculture and animal production markets, later expanding to provide animal nutrition and health products on six continents. 

  • 1965 – Launched two of the U.S. agriculture industry’s first feed antioxidants.

  • 1967 – Established worldwide headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.

  • 1970 – Established regional headquarters for Europe, Middle East and North Africa in Belgium.

  • 1983 – Developed natural pigmenter extracted from marigolds to replace artificial yellow coloring in egg yolks.

  • 1983 – Developed world’s most widely sold mold inhibitor for animal feed.

  • 1988 – Established regional headquarters for Asia-Pacific region in Singapore. 

  • 1992 – Developed a liquid antimicrobial that transformed how bakery and tortilla products are kept fresh. 

  • 1995 – Discovered the benefits of lutein, found in marigolds, for human eye health and began producing the first-of-its-kind natural ingredient for vision supplements in the global market. 

  • 1995 – Formed Kemin Human Nutrition and Health business unit to provide ingredients for dietary and nutritional supplements. 

  • 1996 – Established regional headquarters for South Asia in India. 

  • 1997 – Began growing proprietary rosemary with high level of carnosic acid, extracted to use in pet food products to protect against flavor and color loss. 

  • 2000 – Formed Kemin Nutrisurance, the pet food and rendering technologies business unit, to serve the fast-growing pet food industry. 

  • 2000 – Established regional headquarters in China. 

  • 2004 – Formed Kemin Food Ingredients, which became three regional Kemin Food Technologies business units, to serve the food and beverage markets. 

  • 2004 – Established regional headquarters for South America in Brazil. 

  • 2014 – Established regional headquarters for Sub-Saharan Africa in South Africa.

  • 2014 – Became first company and largest producer in the world to have its proprietary rosemary Certified Sustainably Grown by SCS Global Services.

  • 2015 – Formed the Kemin Crop Technologies initiative, which grew into a business unit serving commercial specialty crop growers in the U.S.  

  • 2017 – Achieved global vision to touch half the world’s population (3.8 billion people) every day with Kemin products and services by 2019—two years earlier than planned.

  • 2018 – Acquired Garmon Chemicals, a chemical solutions company for the denim and apparel industry, and formed Kemin Textile Auxiliaries business unit, based in San Marino.

  • 2018 – Formed Kemin AquaScience™ business unit to serve the aquaculture industry.

  • 2019 – Launched new company logo and vision to sustainably transform the quality of life every day for 80% of the world with our products and services by 2042. 

  • 2020 – Continued partnership with the United Nations' World Food Programme, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and the world's largest humanitarian organization, which impacted more than 115 million lives in 84 countries in 2020.

  • 2021 – Announced global sustainability vision to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

  • 2021 – Became majority shareholder in Egypt-based animal vaccine manufacturer MEVAC to expand its global reach and form the Kemin Biologics business unit.

  • 2021 – Acquired antimicrobial technology company Bio-Cide International to form the Kemin Bio Solutions business unit, which encompasses Kemin’s key enzymes and antioxidants for biofuels and Bio-Cide’s solutions to disinfect and sanitize equipment for food processing and water treatment applications. 


Take a transformative journey into the history of Kemin

Much has changed in the last 61 years. In 2022, we’re reflecting on and celebrating how the Kemin team has made life better for people, pets, production animals, plants and the planet through innovations and advancements in science.

Join us all year long on social media and this site as we:

>    Share key milestones and stories from our history

   Highlight global engagement and festivities

   Showcase celebratory moments and memories from Kemin team members, leaders and partners

   And look back on 61 years of Kemin and look forward to the next six decades



“While Kemin has grown tremendously in 61 years, our mission has remained: Use science at the molecular level to provide exceptional products and superior customer service while making a positive impact. As we look to the future, we stand ready to expand our mission and accelerate our ability to transform lives.”

Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO

Do You have a Kemin story or memory to share?  Contact us via this form.