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our Center for History
if you find
August 16, 1973, Centennial Section, Ad:
We Didn't Invent
BUT WE DO HAVE 4 GENERATIONS OF EXPERIENCE IN RECYCLING
ANIMAL FAT AND PROTEIN.
WE GET OUR RAW MATERIAL BY PROVIDING REGULAR PICK-UP
SERVICE TO RESTAURANTS, SLAUGHTER HOUSES, GROCERIES,
POULTRY PROCESSORS, AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS. EACH YEAR
WE RECYCLE MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF THIS "WASTE" MATERIAL
INTO USEFUL CONSUMER PRODUCTS.
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT RENDERER-RECYCLED PRODUCTS ARE USED
IN SOAP AND IN ANIMAL AND PET FOODS. BUD DID YOU KNOW
THAT RENDERER PRODUCTS ARE ALSO USED TO PRODUCE
BIODEGRADABLE DETERGENTS, PLASTICS, COSMETICS, PAINTS,
CONCRETE ADDITIVES, LUBRICANTS, AND A HOST OF OTHER
ITEMS THAT EACH OF US USE EVERY DAY?
OUR SERVICES BENEFIT THE GENERAL ECONOMY BY ABSORBING
SOME OF THE COST OF MEAT PRODUCTS. SINCE ONLY 40 PERCENT
OF AN AVERAGE STEER REACHES YOUR TABLE, MEAT COSTS WOULD
BE EVEN HIGHER IF WE DIDN'T RECYCLE THE REMAINING 60
PERCENT OF INEDIBLE BY-PRODUCTS.
WE CONTRIBUTE TO PUBLIC HEALTH BY DISPOSING OF MILLIONS
OF POUNDS OF MATERIAL WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE BE LEFT TO
BREED GERMS AND DISEASE.
AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT, WE ARE FRONTRUNNERS IN THE BATTLE
TO PRESERVE OUR ECOLOGY BY THE RECYCLING OF OUR NATURAL
THE FIRST RENDERING OPERATION ON THIS SITE WAS BUILT IN
1913 BY GEORGE MANN. OREN GRANDSTAFF, SR. LEARNED THE
BUSINESS FROM HIS FATHER-IN-LAW, GUSTAV BECKER, A
HOOSIER RENDERING PIONEER, AND PURCHASED THE NORTH
MANCHESTER FACILITY IN 1917. CURRENT OWNERS PAUL AND
DAVID GRANDSTAFF ARE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION
WE'RE ONE OF ELEVEN SURVIVING INDIANA RENDERING FIRMS
OUT OF MORE THAN 100 OPERATIONS SOME YEARS AGO. WE'VE
COME THROUGH THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND A CATASTROPIC FIRE
WITHOUT MISSING A PAYROLL AND WITHOUT A LAYOFF.
AS MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL RENDERERS ASSOCIATION, WE PAY
OUR SHARE OF THE COSTS OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF
NEW PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGY TO HELP ASSURE A SOUND
FUTURE FOR THE INDUSTRY.
WE'RE PROUD OF OUR RECORD. WE'RE PREPARING FOR THE
GRANDSTAFF RENDERING SERVICE INC.
Professionals in Recycling For
North Manchester, Indiana
Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 1993
presented to the North Manchester Historical Society
June 8, 1992 by David Grandstaff
In 1917 my grandfather, Orin Grandstaff, established the
business. He bought rendering businesses for seven sons.
Of those original plants scattered around Indiana, Ohio
and Michigan, we are the last of the remaining
independent family operation plants still in operation.
And, we are one of six surviving Hoosier renderers out
of more than 100 such operations at the turn of the
century. So we have seen a lot of consolidation. In
fact, as I thought about it, even at our small size we
have incorporated and consolidated two other operators in
our district. We bought a plant that closed at Warsaw,
Indiana a long time before I remember-up near Whitehead
farms. We also purchased and consolidated the plant that
used to operate at Huntington. So we've been a part of
that consolidation. We're a small survivor.
The rendering industry, if you are not aware, is the
recycling link with the food chain. Offal-slaughter
plants-fat and bone trimmings in grocery stores-waste
scraps from restaurants-the kitchen here at Manchester
College in fact. Dead animals collected and recycled
into products you come in contact with every day in your
The process is really one of reduction. We do on a grand
scale what you do at home-we cook this inedible meat and
fat product together, we grind in into course
hamburger-1 1/2" particle size diameter and cook it in
sterilizing temperature so the moisture is completely
removed. Then we separate it by pressure, by squeezing
and pressing, into its liquid and fat component or solid
meat and bone meal component-continuous reprocess.
The high protein section, dry section, is an ingredient
in poultry rations, hog rations, and now today we're
beginning to encapsulate it and feed it to our ruminant
animals. One time we thought there was not a market for
this product because they couldn't handle it. Now
encapsulated, it passes through and also becomes a high
energy source for cattle. And if, of course, you have
dogs and cats at home, almost every pet food label on
the shelf has animal life products. Foods like Alpo
start with and never reduce to the moisture level we do.
Inedible fats of not-for-human-consumption fats are used
in consumer products ranging from highest quality soap,
jet aircraft lubricants, mold releases for tires and
cosmetics. That, of course, as I've already mentioned,
is a high energy ingredient in many animal food
We're in fact a very energy intensive process. We burn a
lot of oil-we're very sensitive to oil embargoes and
Gulf wars and things like that. We process about 2
million pounds a month of otherwise potentially
hazardous waste material. We try to be environmentally
good neighbors. We process all of our own biodegradable
waste water in out on-site discharge waste treatment
plant. We employ seven route drivers and seven process
employees. Our production manager is John Eaves. My wife
and I are the office at 218 East Main Street.
I have tonight a very brief video introducing you to the
You seem to be curious about this product. What does it
look like? I brought some samples. I'm all right on the
meal samples-open, pinch, feel, smell. I might have
passed it out earlier but you'd have been nibbling on it
all during dinner! I also brought a couple of jars of
fat. Unfortunately the jars are a little too big and you
can't get a very good indication of what the product
looks like so I spooned some into these saucers and I'll
pass them. You can see the color and so on. Our fat is a
very soft product. Tallow is for the hard white white
substance in soap, candles, that sort of use. Ours goes
into feed and chemical industry as we've indicated. I'll
also pass one of these saucers-I didn't pass that
earlier because it looks so much like maple syrup.
Doesn't smell like it though.
Q: That meal is mixed in with other things to make dog
A: Yes, this is a very high protein. It's about a 60%
protein product. Actually tests a little higher than
60%-so you would put it in an average hog ration like
Bob would have used or any of you. No more than 200 lbs.
to a ton of this for a high protein ration along with
soy meal, corn or other ingredients.
Q: How near is this to what many of us once referred to
A: I thought about that as the video was talking about
the marketing of the quality control. That's probably
the greatest change that we've seen in our industry.
Because I remember days too when an awful lot of our
product went out the door to local and area farmers who
would drive in and say "I need a couple bags of tankage."
To be perfectly honest the product we sell today is not
a lot different than what was referred to as tankage.
The biggest difference is that we now know-we've been
forced to really get a good grip and know nutritionally
the composition and each renderer has a little bit
different composition of raw materials and so on that
goes into the product. Each of us has a different
product even though it's the same thing-it's all a
little bit different. Survival today means knowing
exactly what you've got and exactly what and to whom
that product is most valuable, then marketing only to
them. Now there's no point trying to sell this product
to someone who wants a low grade low protein high
calcium kind of meat and bone meal. You might make it in
the city where you go after a lot of fats and lots of
bones from stores. This product has higher value in
other areas so that's what we do and that's how we
market it. That's a long round-about answer to your
question, but tankage today, there are a lot of
technical definitions. Tankage is kind of the lowest of
the low grades. Tankage is a combination of about
anything that you want to throw in-so our product here
is not tankage. I market it under a trade name "PROfile
60"--60% protein content...and I do that for the reason that
this product does not fit any of the standard ATPI Trade
technical definitions. It fits two of them exactly in
the middle so I use a trade name which describes the
product which is 70% poultry meal and 30% meat and bone
Q: Is this the same kind of meal that you give to put on
your plants-a bone meal?
A: When you buy bone meal you're buying steamed bone
meal and that is a product that is generally from whole
bone at the slaughter house. And yes, it's processed
much, much the same way. But it is processed all by
Q: What is your territory?
A: We cover parts of about 10 counties. As you are aware
there's a lot of poultry production in this area and
there is also a major slaughter plant that processes the
spent fowl when the laying cycle is done. Those hens are
slaughtered and the meat still tastes but is a little
tough and goes into things like pot pies and Campbell
soups, etc.-very tasty meat but not real tender. That's
the target of that spent meat, and the offal of that
slaughter I process. You are aware also that we have a
fairly high concentration of hogs.
Q: Is there a market for hides?
A: There is a market for hide-the market for the
rendered hide is very limited any more. There's enough
production of slaughter-packer hides that the demand for
what is obviously a lower grade hide as I used to
produce has gotten to the point where I currently am not
even handling any hides.
Q: What do you do with them?
A: They go right in the product.
Q: Unable to hear from tape.
A: As I am aware of the history of the industry there
was a very, very short time that it was kinda thrown
out-the solid portion was actually discarded, because
you were after the fat. That's what the rendering
industry grew up on. Think about the related
industry-the whaling industry-is really a ship-side
rendering industry. I've visited some of the sea
museums and visited a whaling ship. It's a moving
rendering plant. They boil it down to get the oil.
They're after the oil. The same was true when the
rendering industry was begun. We didn't have any outlet
for the solids. The whole bone wasn't ground in the
early days. It was cooked down in open kettles and the
fat was skimmed off. The broth, or whatever, and the
bone were thrown out. I'm sure that where it was thrown
got pretty doggoned green after a couple of seasons of
that. That's the only relationship I know to being
called a fertilizer plant. But it's a misnomer that
sticks very tightly. You may have seen in the paper two
or three weeks ago that there was a chemical fertilizer
plant that burned. I got a couple calls from concerned
friends from around the northern part of the state,
concerned that I'd had another fire.
Q: Unable to hear from tape.
A: Tankage is that product composed of the tissue, bone
of carcasses containing not more than normal processing
amount-it's a real technical thing-but tankage is a
lower grade meat and bone meal usually fortified with
blood meal to get the protein level up. I usually
contains blood meal and lowest grades of raw material.
If I had a sample of tankage with me tonight it would
look very much like this product that I have. I would be
very much darker in color and the aroma would be more
Feathers are processed separately. We do not process
feathers. One of those interesting arrangements that
occurs in the development of new business. When a Greek
family bought this poultry processing plant over at
Mentone, Indiana, nobody in the State of Indiana had any
dea what to do with poultry offal. It's tough stuff to
handle. It has some really strange characteristics. One
of, if not the least troublesome of which, is when you
cook it, it boils over like crazy and it foams. The vat
just goes wild. It takes some specialized treating-very
specialized expensive products from Dow Chemical to keep
it from doing that during the processing. Nobody in
Indiana-it was just trash-no renderer wanted it. My dad
was smart enough to figure out that if he could learn
how to cook it, there's probably be a buck in it some
day. A neighboring, competing plant, on up the road-most
of you all are aware of it unfortunately-got there the
same day and so they decided they'd split it up, we'd
handle the offal, and they'd handle the feathers. That's
been the happiest arrangement I've ever had. The
feathers are not only extremely abrasive, they just chew
up equipment like crazy. They also, to be properly done,
need an entirely different process. To be properly
prepared for feed ingredients they need to be hydrolized
which is really a pressure cooking kind of operation. If
properly done, feather meal if you've seen it is a
really beautiful white, fluffy product, great stuff.
Improperly done it's about three grades below tankage.
Feather meal runs about 75% protein. Digestibility level
is somewhat -we run 90% digestible. I don't think
feather meal runs that high digestible. That can vary
all over the place, depending on how it's processed. If
you throw it in a cooker and cook it conventionally like
you would other materials, you don't get a very
digestible product. It has to be hydrolized to maintain
its amino-acid balance and digestibility.
Q: Does that go into animal feed then?
A: Yes. And more and more research is showing that is
one of the benefits of a concentrated species population
in this area. More and more we are finding that species
recycled species is most effective in gain and use. The
amino acid balance of my product comes from primarily
poultry and we feed back primarily to poultry because
they benefit best from it.
Same goes for hogs. Wilson-their product will be a
little better tailored to hog production.
Hoofs-often thought of as being the glue. That's a
whole different process. I know of no renderer who is
also in glue manufacturing. You can still buy horse hoof
glue, and as a historically oriented body you are all
familiar I am sure with the glass that was popular (I'm
lost, I don't know the time period) glass that has a
very crazed, crackly surface finish to it that was
manufactured by taking ordinary glass, coating it with
horse-hoof glue, and then heating that. As the glue
dried, it actually crackled off the surface of the
glass. It was a popular decorative glass, I think, at
the turn of the century-first 20 years of the century.
I don't know. I've seen it. know for sure what they
called it. an art glass form. This is not that. This is
a surface that looked more etched than anything else,
one side only, like you might have seen in public rest
rooms on doors and things like that.
Q: Regarding control
A: We are not federally controlled. We are state
regulated in terms of the majority of industrial
regulations. We are under Federal guidelines such as
OSHA-Occupational Safety and Health. We meet Federal
guidelines so far as waste water treatment because
Indiana laws are in line with federal. Really under
State licensing permitting inspection -I'd say
harassment-but it's not too bad if you play the game.
If you try to do it right, they recognize that.
Q: Is there any danger that your business will go the
way of the tanning industry?
A. The largest renderer in the United States is
currently in bankruptcy. I don't know if that's an
answer to your question. It bothers me. It really does.
There's more to that story obviously than just the fact
that a large nation-wide company is actually in
bankruptcy proceedings. They tried to lever too much too
fast, but in California which is where a lot of our
country's business problems seem to originate, the
environmental regulators would really like to run the
rendering companies completely out of California and
they already meet incredibly high standards. They're
putting out waste water that's practically ready to
I don't like to be a pessimist but there are already
areas in the country where there is no such thing as
dead stock removal - nobody left there that will handle
that kind of business. So little by little-and it's just
been in the last year and half that I finally got tired
of trying to fight the tight marketing problems-so
little by little there's going to be some segments of
that last. It's one industry that's going to supply 20
Empire State Buildings a day of inedible products with
values beside the product that cannot be ignored.
Q: Regarding odor.
A: Basically what happens-we are cooking when we boil,
the product steams. What carries the aroma is steam.
What we do to minimize the conduct of that odor is to
get rid of the steam. Immediately when it comes off the
cooker we run it through a big cooler and we knock it
back down and condense it instantly back to water which
we can then treat on site. Water still has that aroma
but it doesn't carry.
Every rendering plant in the world along with about
every other industry (when the cannery was here in town
it was on the river) -everybody uses rivers. We saw at
the beginning of the Federal Corps WPES Permit system
begun in the 70's we'd have to meet high standards for
discharge. We decided it was good because our waste
water is very biodegradable. No bad stuff in it-it's
just odorous but it can be easily treated. We decided to
do it, I think around 1976.
Discussion: There was a time I remember when I was a
young boy riding on a truck with my grandfather-my
mother's father who worked for us also-operated in
Warsaw at the pick-up station. I can remember we'd go to
the bank once a week and get a bag of silver dollars. We
would give away silver dollars when we picked up a cow
or horse. Times they have changed.
Q: How did you get involved?
A: How I got involved? O.K. I was Psychology Major -
English Minor at
Wabash College in 1962. I was pretty well unsure what
that was leading to, so I was working in Ft. Wayne at
State School for Mentally Retarded-practical experience
in the field of Psychology to see if there was anything
there that I really wanted to go to work at. During the
Sectional Basketball Tourney, February 22, 1962, a few
things occurred to people in this community. George
Scheerer who was at Wittenberg University tripped and
fell through a glass door, almost bled to death, and
bears the scars. Maybe you weren't aware of that but
George bears the scars of falling through that glass
door that night. My father got called out of the
basketball game to tell him that the plant out there was
on fire. It wasn't on fire-it was all over fire. You can
imagine a lot of old wood around, all that high grade
fat not only in tanks but also soaked into that wood
over the years. It did not take very long to completely
melt down to scrap heap and so next day Jane and I said
"Well maybe we'd better go back. It will be kind of a
tough time for Dad." We went back to help out for
awhile. I wasn't doing anything terribly important.
School would wait -- go back and help Dad out to get
this thing going again and we'd be on our way. I guess
we're on our way!
We have a National Association. We fund a protein
research foundation. Through that we support numerous
research projects-pretty big bucks go into that. A
really small operation like myself never could afford
research. I don't even have lab facilities. I get all my
testing done in outside laboratories. In much less time
the research is done. Small guys really benefit by
hanging together. By joining the National Association I
benefit by the big companies' funding of research
projects. They have an extensive and ongoing research
Q: I assume the plant at Plymouth is still operating?
They do essentially the same as you do?
A: Yes they do. They don't do it nearly as well, I like
to think. They're not only-I want to be a little
careful-they have been very helpful to me in times of
need-so they are not bad people. But man, they're sloppy
operators. They are a disgrace to the industry. They are
an embarrassment to the State of Indiana and they are
royal thorns in the side of the lady who is the head of
the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She
would love to put them out of business. The problem with
that is her approach would be to put all the rest of us
out of business first. It's always a challenge.
Observation: It's really an industry we can't do
A: It is! As to recycling, we've been at it a long, long
We are a maintenance level. It is a very
difficult-naturally I'll, when you open up the hotel,
I'll be on your doors with my business card-take care of
your waste-fryer fat, if you have deep fat fryers in
operation. But new business in this area in terms of
processing of major kind, it doesn't come along.
Economics of going out to compete with an operation
that's in 12 states, does not make much sense. If I
behave myself they allow me to keep operating. If I get
smart, they are capitalized to the point that they could
come in and buy every account I have and I'm done
tomorrow. That's the reality of being very small.
Thank you! You had a lot of very fascinating questions.