In March 1915, Mr. and Mrs. James Fassio left a Wyoming bakery business to move to the Salt Lake Valley farming community of Hunter, Utah. Mr. Fassio purchased 45 acres of land and began a new career in farming. During the first few years, the harvest of wheat found no market so Mr. Fassio traded some wheat for 50 chickens to help eat the grain. This was the beginning of Fassio Egg Farms.
By 1925, the flock grew to 350 layers, and in 1928 the layer operation became the family’s major source of income.
In 1942, Chester Fassio, the eldest son, married Katherine Uzelac, and they assumed the duties of the farm from James Fassio. In the years that followed, the ranch grew to 35,000 layers. The real catalyst to this growth was a fire that occurred in 1945. It destroyed the chicken coops the Fassio’s were renting and the Fassio’s decided to replace them by building their own. This decision helped the farm move towards becoming a profitable business. Soon after, Fassio Egg Farms became the leading egg producer in the State of Utah.
During this time, the main office, distribution warehouse, and processing plant were established on the original 45 acres in Hunter, Utah. By this time the city of Hunter had grown and developed into the city of West Valley.
In 1965, Chester’s son, Dick, decided to become involved in the future of the family business. He selected Michigan State University, a leading university in the study of poultry science, to further his education. After graduating in 1969, he returned to Salt Lake to begin assuming some of the responsibilities of the company. He married Joy Schneebeli in 1974 and they now have two sons, Vinnie and Tony.
On June 20, 1991, Fassio Egg Farms broke ground at a new site. On November 1, 1991, 86,000 pullets were housed in the first of four laying houses. Upon completion in December of 1992, total capability in the new facility was 344,000 laying hens. More on-site office space, an egg processing room, cooler, and dry storage were all constructed. This was a model facility with state-of-the-art building, cage, and egg gathering equipment. The efficiency of the this ranch enabled Fassio Egg Farms to close the Herriman location. The last egg gathered at Herriman was on August 30, 1992.
Between 1994 and 2001 Dick and Joy’s sons, Vinnie and Tony, attended Colorado State University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, respectively. Vinnie graduated with a degree in Agribusiness in 1999 and returned to Fassio Egg Farms to help grow the business. Tony graduated in 2001 with a degree in Operations Management and stayed on the east coast working for a large, corporate food processing organization. Tony continued his education in Utah at Westminster College and received a Masters in Business Administration in 2006.
All eggs produced at the ranches were processed, warehoused, and distributed out of the West Valley facility until 2001. Similar to the expansion in 1965, the father-son team of Dick and Vinnie undertook the company’s next expansion project in 2001. In this expansion, Fassio Egg Farms added two new houses, increasing the total layer capacity by 182,000. By this time Fassio Egg Farms had grown to a total layer capacity of 772,000. These new houses at this facility once again represented the industry’s state-of-the-art equipment.
With the addition of the new lay houses in 2001, the company relocated the processing plant, warehouse, and distribution center from West Valley to this ranch. This relocation transformed the ranch into an in-line facility. A new Diamond 8300 Egg Grader machine was installed and provided many opportunities for the company to increase efficiency and quality. The main office remained at the West Valley location.
In June of 2004 Tony Fassio decided to come back to Fassio Egg Farms and teamed up with Dick and Vinnie to help further develop the company. Tony took over the responsibilities of the finances, operations, and human resources for the company. This allowed Dick and Vinnie to focus their energies on another expansion project.
By 2005 the egg industry had drastically changed from the early days of Fassio Egg Farms. The industry consolidated from approximately 2,500 producers in 1986 to about 270 in 2005. In an effort to remain a leading producer in a consolidating industry, Dick and Vinnie saw the importance for an increase in efficiency and the need for a decrease in overall costs for the company. This forward-thinking of both Dick and Vinnie have helped to establish a strong competitive advantage for the company. Two more lay houses were constructed, again with state-of-the art technology. This technology alone added a layer capacity of 330,000, which represents about a thirty percent increase in the number of birds.
The large flock sizes of the two buildings demanded a larger brooder capacity. Parallel to this expansion, two buildings at the Lake ranch were closed down as layer houses. One of the buildings was converted into a new brooder facility in 2005, while the second building remained empty with the intention of converting it into a brooder once the overall bird capacity demanded it.
Prior to the recent expansion, Vinnie learned the leading procedures of manure composting and built a compost facility in 2005. This facility would allow Fassio Egg Farms to compost all the manure produced at the ranches. Composting the manure helps to better maintain the nutrients of the land and decrease the overall volume of manure. The volume has decreased up to forty percent, enabling more manageable lot sizes.
Throughout the entire history of Fassio Egg Farms the employees have been the most critical component to the success of the company. Throughout its history, Fassio Egg Farms has depended on its employees’ hard work and willingness to change, think forwardly, and develop new skills. Fassio Egg Farms has grown from 3 employees in 1942 to about 40 in 2006. The company is proud that the average employment of its people is 10 years, with 28% of its employees being with the company for over 17 years.
As represented through its history, Fassio Egg Farms will continue to be a leader in the egg industry through technology advances, growth, employee development, and diligent management.
Only three years after the Lake Ranch expansion was completed, another key employee joined the Fassio team. Angelo Maratta began working in February of 1980. Like Wayne Phillips, Angelo has held many positions throughout the company over the years, and is currently the Processing and Maintenance Manager. In this role, Angelo is responsible for the collection, washing, grading, packing, storing, and shipping of over 600,000 eggs a day.
Eight years later in 1988, Brian Tedesco was hired to join Fassio Egg Farms. As with all other key employees, Brian held many different positions throughout the company. Brian currently oversees the daily operations of the feed mill and Lake ranch.
The Fassio’s decided to radically expand the farm once Dick decided to become involved in the farm. In 1965, Chester purchased 128 acres in Herriman, Utah. This development boosted the flocks to 270,000 layers and brooding capacity for 80,000 pullets. The processing facilities were also modernized.
In November of 1976 Wayne Phillips was hired. Wayne has held many different positions at Fassio Egg Farms, but is currently the Ranch and Feed Mill manager overseeing all operations at the Brooder, Lake Ranch, Erda Ranch, and the Feed Mill. Wayne’s dedication, hard work, and persistence have helped both him and the company succeed throughout the years. In 2006 Wayne celebrated 30 years with Fassio Egg Farms.
In 1977, Fassio Egg Farms expanded once again by purchasing a brooding facility with 36 acres. Three miles north, 98 acres were purchased and “Lake Ranch” was established, adding 240,000 layers to the
operation. At the same location in 1981, a feed mill was constructed, which was the first step to vertical integration. By producing its own feed, Fassio Egg Farms had more control over quality and costs. The feed mill’s computer system can produce 30 tons of feed per hour with very little labor.