Born in 1847, John Thompson was raised on a farm near Ahoghill. In 1870 he opened his first Belfast mill, moving to Donegall Quay in 1900. With the motto, ‘Pioneers of Better Feeding Stuffs’, Thompsons became the first compounder in Ireland, producing blended, cooked and extruded feed as early as 1911. The mill was destroyed in the Blitz in 1941 and rebuilt by the founder’s son James. The company passed out of family ownership in 1963 and moved to its present York Road site in 1987. Focusing on range and scale, Thompsons became the largest multi-species compounder in Europe in 2002.