Ritchie Industries Named Small Business Exporter of the Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the selection of Ritchie Industries, Inc. in Conrad as the 2023 SBA Small Business Exporter of the Year for the state of Iowa. In addition, the company was also selected as the SBA Regional Exporter of the Year winner for SBA’s Region 7, which includes the state of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Ritchie Industries produces livestock watering tanks that are insulated, heated, and free flowing to supply continuous fresh water to livestock. The company’s products are suitable for beef and dairy cattle, hogs, horses, sheep, goats, and exotic livestock. Products range from a single stall waterer to fountains that accommodate 500 head of cattle. Some products are built to attach to a stall or fence line while others are free standing.

Thomas Ritchie, an Iowa farmer, invented an automatic animal watering system in 1921 for the purpose of keeping his own livestock supplied with fresh water. His invention became popular among the farmers in the area, so he patented the concept and sold it to farmers around the state. C. D. Wilson, Sr. purchased the business in 1943 and moved it to Conrad, Iowa. In 2004, Clifford D. Wilson, Jr. sold the Company to the Ritchie Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Exporting represents over 22 percent of Ritchie’s sales, with products being exported to Canada, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East. Most of the sales to Canada, Europe and Asia are for larger units that are used in cattle and dairy operations. Exports  are responsible for creating 17 jobs through exporting.

In recognition of the small business community’s contributions to the American economy and society, the President of the United States designates one week each year as National Small Business Week. Scheduled for the week of April 30th this year, Small Business Week 2023 will honor the more than 30 million small businesses in America.

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