Rogers Enterprises International (REI) was founded and inspired by the company’s current President, Mr. John Rogers. John’s groundbreaking work in the agriculture and animal husbandry fields started with the John D. Rockefeller family. Nelson Rockefeller, the grandson of family patriarch John D. Rockefeller, established the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC) in 1947. This corporation was founded in the same deeply philanthropic business approach that the Rockefeller Family applied to its other businesses. The goal of IBEC was to spur economic growth in developing countries of the world, including post-war Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and India. By bringing modern agribusiness policy and best practices to these emerging economies, entire domestic industries began to prosper, as local competitors grew.
John Rogers completed his university degree at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) with a major in Poultry Science and a minor in Agricultural Business. Later, John also completed certificate programs at Texas A&M University in Protein Research and the American Management Association, New York, in Marketing Administration. Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences still stands today as one of the United States’ best schools for agriculture science.Today, several decades later, these companies are some of the world’s largest and most successful agribusinesses and include such household names as Mitsui & Co. in Japan, San Miguel Company in the Philippines, and Charoen Pokphand Company Limited (CP Foods) in Thailand. Rogers Enterprises International follows this great lineage of companies dedicated to increasing farmer education, food security, and a higher standard of living for the billions of people who call Asia home. John Rogers is still hard at work, frequently traveling around the various countries of Asia, improving poultry and grain operations. Despite REI’s current extensive network of market leading partners, the story of REI in Asia starts out in a much simpler manner.
In 1962, John was accepted into the Rockefeller family’s International Basic Economy Corporation, in the form of Arbor Acres Farms. Here, John developed and managed joint venture poultry breeding and integrated poultry operations throughout Asia. This joint venture structure allowed John to work directly with the management teams of Asia’s up and coming agriculture and animal husbandry companies. In Japan after World War II, John worked with Mitsui & Co., which he felt particularly lucky to have been able to do. As John recounted, “I was really fortunate to have been able to work with Mitsui & Co. I had poultry experience, but dealing with the language and culture was challenging, and at times frustrating. I had no idea what the scope of the job was going to be prior to arriving in Tokyo, but when I arrived, I soon found that I had to first secure a 20 acre plot of land outside Tokyo. This particular plot of land had 68 private owners that had to be negotiated with, and finally, we were able to purchase all the land, clear it, level it, and then start construction on the hatchery, breeding farm, and egg-laying facilities. Getting power and other utilities was also a challenge. I knew what was needed to get the job done, but actually getting it done in an efficient manner proved to be difficult. However, after the first year of operation, the hatchery, breeding farm, and laying facility were already quite profitable. Sticking with it and making it happen proved to be the path to project success for me and Mitsui in Japan.”
After John’s success in Japan, he was sent to the Philippines to do similar work there with San Miguel, the largest company in the Philippines, a nation of over 100 million people. It was here that another important event in the history of REI occurred – the birth of John’s son Kevin, who now acts as REI’s capable Managing Director. You could say that doing this work in Asia is in our blood.
After success in the Philippines, John was sent to work with Charoen Pokphand (CP) in Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia. It was this partnership that would eventually bring REI to establish its main headquarters office in Bangkok, Thailand. With CP, John brought new animal husbandry and grain storage techniques to Southeast Asia, and CP’s extremely effective farmer education programs paralleled John’s own philosophy of agribusiness. After a year of hard work, the CP / Arbor Acres joint venture was highly profitable. Today, CP has expanded to be the #1 market leader in food, grain & feed, animal husbandry, and most anything else related to these industries.
CP has plans for expansion, and realized that its partnership was highly effective. Thus, in 1977, after 15 years with Arbor Acres, John accepted the position of President of Agri Products, Inc. / Vanont, Inc., in the CP Group of companies. From 1977 until 1984, John worked to supply livestock and livestock equipment to developing countries in Asia. He also was the Asian representative for Hough International, Inc., then one of the most groundbreaking innovators from the USA in feed and grain storage and equipment.
From 1984 – 1994, John continued his work in agriculture equipment supply by accepting the Vice President position for Kennebee Breeders, Inc. / Avian Farms, Inc. John also evolved his role with Hough International, Inc. to become their Asian Representative for feedmill contractors.
In 1994, John saw a great need in India, and with his old partners CP, accepted the position of Vice President of Business Development for CP’s aquaculture unit in India. CP Aquaculture (India) was a wholly owned subsidiary of CP Group in Thailand, with an annual turnover of USD$14 billion. Here, John was responsible for establishing CP’s business infrastructure in India, to oversee land purchase for construction of feedmills and other projects. He was also the liaison between the company and the state and central governments of India, handling corporate legal matters and assisting with promotional work for CP. John’s work in India lasted for close to 16 years before he felt the need to return to his roots in Southeast Asia.
In the 21st century, John has found that he can affect the most positive change in the well-being of the people of Asia by representing the companies he feels are the best. The last 5 years have seen John focus more on solving the problem of high post-harvest grain loss in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Bangladesh. Currently, the hard work being put in on the front end by the region’s farmers is being wasted by improper storage of the harvested crop. Often amounting to up to 40% of the total crop harvested, these losses must be decreased. As a result, John has opted to represent American, European, Canadian, Australian, and Asian engineering, construction, and equipment supply companies whose technology can accomplish this.
John’s lifetime of work dedicated to increasing the quality of life for the people of Asia is the basis for the current structure of REI. Currently under the direction of John’s son and REI Managing Director, Kevin Rogers, the company has expanded its partnerships with market leaders in the industry. We are looking into new technology in grain storage, animal feed nutrition, and organic seed traits for grains. REI has begun a representation service offering for North American and European companies interested in expanding into Asia. The cost savings that REI brings to these companies is substantial, and the network that our Partner firms are able to tap into gets projects done in Asia without the normal delays and roadblocks associated with doing business in Asia.
In 2012, John is still very active in business meetings and negotiations in REI’s business in Asia, and there great opportunities for world-class companies wanting to do business here. “Having the right equipment, in a truly integrated and green approach, will continue to be in high demand here,” John said recently. “Even though I’ve worked with Asia’s biggest ag and poultry companies, I still believe that in order to be effective, you’ve got to get down to the farmer level, and see what they need. Using this knowledge, we can educate the farmers and also adapt our product and service offerings to reflect this. There’s great opportunity for this here.”