In 1917, Cereal Byproducts Company was incorporated within the State of Missouri by W. O. Greene (a former teacher at Smith Academy in St. Louis), together with John Reid, president of National Oats Company, and Joe Mathews, general manager of the National Oats Company. They had the idea of forming a brokerage business selling cereal by-products consisting mostly of offal from the milling of oats for human consumption.
In addition they focused on selling hominy feed from the milling of corn, besides an over all interest in selling alfalfa meal from the alfalfa millers (mostly in Colorado) who at the time were the only sellers of sun cured hay. They also sold ingredients to the mixers that produced finished feed for the mules that served overseas in WWI.
In 1919 a young steel salesman from Ohio by the name of Mr. William F. Becker Jr. called regularly on National Oats to sell them equipment. The folks at National liked Bill Becker and in 1919 asked him to take charge of Cereal and expand its business, which he agreed to do.
In 1923, when the mixed feed business lost some momentum, Messrs. Reid and Mathews felt that the mixed feed business had about run its course and were willing to sell their interest to Bill Becker, Elsor Heater (who was manager of the Chicago office established in January 1919), and Miss I. K. Reiser – together with Mr. Greene – who bought the interests in a package deal, leaving Mathews and Reid retired from the business.
Also in 1923, a branch office was established in Memphis. And in January 1926, the Minneapolis office was established, with H. L. Reinshagen (a former salesman for the National Oats Company) as manager. In 1927, as Cereal Byproducts Company found more demand for their services in other markets, so they established the Kansas City office, with Tom Sexton as manager.
All during the period 1917 to 1930, the company was incorporated within the state of Missouri. In May 1929, the main office was moved from St. Louis to Chicago, and the company was re-incorporated within the state of Illinois. This office was located at the Chicago Board of Trade until 1975, and after that the office was moved to the suburbs.
In 1932 Cereal established an office in Boston and in the early ‘40’s, WWII set Cereal back. The traders in Boston and also Memphis were drafted and there was no one to run these locations, and so these offices were closed down. A Milwaukee office was established in 1978 and Vancouver, Washington (Portland) started in 1991.
W.F. Becker retired as Chairman of the Board in 1965, and is credited with building Cereal Byproducts over the span of the 46 years of his tenure. The current president, Jim Tofilon, joined the company as a trader in June of 1978 after graduation from college.
Cereal Byproducts Company has enjoyed an enviable growth and reputation serving the agricultural industry, buying and selling the ingredients used in the manufacture of formulated feeds and food products. During this time the business has expanded to handling many other commodities – from soybean meal in the 1930’s to non fat dry milk in the 60’s as well as innumerable other feed and food ingredients. Current general offices are now located in Mt. Prospect, IL, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.