Oil-Dri Corp. Of America Company Profile, Founder, History & More

Oil-Dri Corporation of America is one of the leading producers of sorbent products in the US. Established in 1941, they specialize in cat litter, absorbents, soil conditioners, sports field conditioners, and bleaching clay products, among others. They source their raw materials from their own clay mineral mines in four states, as well as through their various partnerships with The Clorox Company and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Oil-Dri also has seven manufacturing plants in the US, along with two in Canada, and one in the UK, allowing them to expand their operations worldwide and bring in 18% of their total revenue from outside the US.

Recently, Oil-Dri has been managed and majority owned by the Jaffee family, who founded the organization. With their extensive product range and production capabilities, Oil-Dri is quickly becoming a household name for its quality sorbent products.

Company NameOil-Dri Corp. Of America
Founder NameNick Jaffee
IndustryChemicals, Petrochemicals, Glass & Gases and Manufacturing
Date of Establishment1946
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
Revenue$333.6M (in 2022)
CEODan Jaffee
Registered Address410 N Michigan Ave Ste 400,
Chicago, Illinois, 60611
Telephone No.(312) 321-1515
FAX(312) 321-9525
Stock SymbolODC
Company StatusActive



For the 4th time in less than 10 years, Oil-Dri was awarded a Top 100 Workplaces honor by the Chicago Tribune. This list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey that uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.


During the Covid-19 global pandemic nationwide shutdown, the vast majority of Oil-Dri’s business is deemed essential and continues manufacturing operations to provide materials for food production, pet care, sanitation and animal health.  These products are sold to essential businesses such as grocery stores and food processing plants that rely on Oil-Dri for their continuing operations.


The Richard M. Jaffee Laboratory for Applied Microbiology opened in November of 2019. This laboratory was designed to provide increased capacity for new product development and technical service focusing on how our materials interact with biologicals such as bacteria and fungi. This investment in microbiological research will help drive future growth for Oil-Dri.


Oil-Dri implements robust S&OP/IBP disciplines with a new product development pipeline. Headed up by COO Molly VandenHeuvel,Oil-Dri’s new product development process is designed to improve the success rate of developing new products.


Oil-Dri CFO Susan Kreh and the entire Oil-Dri team successfully launch an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) process to manage and integrate key parts of the business such as planning, purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and more with a single system.


  • The annual We Care award was renamed to the Al Swerdlik award after one of the Oil-Dri’s founding teammates who exemplified the Company’s founding principles.
  • In promotion of Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light Ultimate Care,® a partnership was formed with Katherine Heigl, award-winning actress and CEO of The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation.™ We are proud that a portion of every sale of Fresh & Light Ultimate Care products assists the foundation and its mission to end animal cruelty.
  • Oil-Dri celebrated its 75th anniversary of business. Oil-Dri received patents for a variety of lightweight scoopable cat litter formulations.


The Industrial & Automotive Products Group launched its Snow & Go™ Winter Traction Aid product.

Amlan International launched two new natural growth promotion products, Varium™ for Poultry and NeoPrime™ for post-weaning piglets.


Oil-Dri was again nominated by a teammate and was named as one of The Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces.

A grand opening was held for Oil-Dri’s Chinese subsidiary, Amlan Trading (Shenzhen) Company, Ltd. in Shenzhen, China.


The Ripley production facility celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Oil-Dri purchased the clay cat litter business assets of MFM Industries, Inc. in Ocala, Florida.

Nominated by Oil-Dri teammates, the Company earned the highest ranking and special award for ethical standards among the Chicago Tribune‘s Top 100 Workplaces for companies.


The Chicago Tribune named Oil-Dri one of the city’s Top 100 Workplaces in the small business category.


  • The Blue Mountain production facility expanded in order to support the launch of Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light.®
  • Oil-Dri and Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light won Walmart’s Responsibility Award.
  • Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light.® brand of lightweight cat litters was launched and revolutionized the cat litter industry.


  • A new plant was constructed in Ripley, Mississippi for the production of new innovative chemical and biological carrier technology, Verge® engineered granules.
  • Milestone: Sales hit $232,000,000.


Amlan® International was established as Oil-Dri’s animal health business and launched Calibrin® products.


Oil-Dri began annual dividend increases for both classes of stock.


Oil-Dri acquired the Jonny Cat® brand of pet care products, manufacturing facility and mineral reserves in Taft, California.


Oil-Dri developed a new mission statement, “Creating Value From Sorbent Minerals.” All product lines were expanded with a focus on value-added products. Oil-Dri acquired Pro’s Choice Sports Field Products®. The Ochlocknee, Georgia facility was expanded to support a growing demand for Pure-Flo® bleaching earths.


  • Milestone: Sales hit $174,000,000.
  • Oil-Dri introduced Scoop ‘N Flush™ and DustStopper™ cat litters, made with recycled paper.


The Company acquired American Colloid’s facility and mineral rights in Mounds, Illinois.


The Company introduced Cat’s Pride® scoopable cat litter and Cat’s Pride® KatKit® disposable cat litter trays to the pet care market in the United States.


  • Oil-Dri was named the first-ever recipient of the National Family Business of the Year Award.
  • Dan Jaffee took over as President and Chief Operating Officer.

EARLY 1990’S

  • The Saular KatKit® was introduced and sold in Canada.
  • Milestone: Sales reached $94 million; earnings topped $7 million.
  • The Company acquired Industrial Environmental Products, Inc., and entered the polypropylene sorbents market with Oil-Dri Lite™ Sorbents.


  • Oil-Dri was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on December 20, 1993 with the ticker ODC.
  • Oil-Dri’s executive headquarters moved to Chicago’s historic Wrigley Building at 410 North Michigan Avenue, where it operates today.


  • Oil-Dri celebrates its 50th year in business.
  • The Nick Jaffee Center for Innovation was was built and opened in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The state-of-the-art scientific campus houses an extensive laboratory, pilot plant and 26 teammates. Oil-Dri’s Animal Health business was established. Pel-Unite Plus Pelleting Aid was added to the product offerings.


Dan Jaffee packed-up his car with a license plate that read “OILDRI” and drove to Laval, Canada. He managed the Canadian facility full-time for one year and then began commuting back and forth from Chicago.


The plant in Ripley, Mississippi underwent a major expansion to handle increased demand for Agsorb.®

New packaging was designed for Cat’s Pride® with an endorsement from the American Humane Association.


Oil-Dri acquired Ami-Dri Corporation’s production facility and reserves and established the Blue Mountain Production Company, a Mississippi facility focusing on cat litter production. The Company expanded sales to mass merchandisers.


Milestone: Sales hit $83,000,000


Daniel “Dan” Jaffee started his full-time career at Oil-Dri.


Oil-Dri introduced new fluids purification products: Pure-Flo® to the edible oil market and Ultra-Clear® to the jet fuel clarification market. These products are produced at a dedicated fine powders plant in Ochlocknee, Georgia.


In conjunction with a secondary stock offering, Class B Stock was established. Retained by the founding family, Class B Stock has 10 votes per share. In return, Class B stock receives a 25% lower dividend. The purpose of this change in capital structure was to ensure a longer-term view for the benefit of all stockholders.

The acquisition of a production plant owned by Anschutz Mineral became Oil-Dri Corporation of Georgia’s South Plant in Ochlocknee.


  • Dick served as President of the Sorptive Minerals Institute (SMI), a not-for-profit, national trade association representing the producers and marketers of products made from absorbent clay minerals.
  • Favorite Products, Ltd., in Laval, Québec, Canada was acquired and sales were expanded throughout Canada.
  • Cat’s Pride Scented cat litter was introduced to the market.
  • Shipments to Europe continued; export sales expanded to new geographic locations including Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
  • Oil-Dri Transportation Company and the Oil-Dri Customer Service group were established


With Oil-Dri’s support, Verlyn “Swede” Roskam, another founding teammate, formed Educational Assistance, Ltd., which has since helped over 10,000 students achieve college educations.


In order to receive bulk clay from the United States, Oil-Dri, S.A. built a plant on the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany. The plant repackaged the material as cat litter and floor absorbent.


  • Milestone: Sales topped $33 million; earnings reached $1.2 million.
  • Micro-granule products, Flo-Fre® Flowability Aid and Pel-Unite® Pellet Binder, were developed and introduced by the Agri-Tech division.


Research & Development efforts moved from Chicago to newly purchased property in Prairie View, Illinois. Oil-Dri West was established as a division when the Company acquired a production plant and diatomaceous earth reserves in Christmas Valley, Oregon


Oil-Dri, S.A. was established in Coppet, Switzerland and production facilities were constructed in Wisbech, United Kingdom. Floor absorbents and cat litter were manufactured at these locations using a newly patented, synthetic technology and the company began exporting to Western Europe.


Oil-Dri began paying cash dividends.


The Company made its first cat litter sale to Walmart.


With the aid of Edgar “Ned” Jannotta and the William Blair & Company, Oil-Dri made its initial public offering, releasing 120,000 shares of stock and raising $1.2 million to finance the building of its production plant in Ochlocknee, Georgia.


  • Milestone: Sales reached $6.5 million; earnings were $526,000.
  • Oil-Dri began its initial efforts researching additional product applications and also established its Consumer Products Group.


  • Milestone: Sales hit $5,000,000
  • Ned Janotta, later chairman of William Blair, and Allan H. “Bud” Selig, later Commisioner of Major League Baseball, joined Oil-Dri’s Board of Directors.
  • Oil-Dri expanded its cat litter and grease absorbent businesses to the European market. Oil-Dri Corporation of America was incorporated in Delaware as the successor to the Illinois corporation that was incorporated in 1946.


Agsorb® Carriers were introduced to the crop protection chemicals market to replace aerial crop dusting and thereby eliminate the drift of chemicals in agricultural applications. Additionally Dri-Nest was developed to absorb the wet droppings of nesting chickens.


In conjunction with Purdue University’s Turf Grass Institute, TerraGreen® Soil Conditioner was developed for the building and maintenance of golf courses and other high value turf applications. Oil-Dri developed Kitty-Dri™ and Pet Purr™ branded cat litter.

Nick died from a heart attack at the age of 56. Dick began diversification and expanded the Company’s product offerings for a wide range of applications.


The brand Cat’s Pride® Cat Litter was introduced to the pet care market.

EARLY 1960’S

Dick took over operations and became President & CEO.

Oil-Dri began the vertical integration process and fully acquired the production plants and mineral reserves in Cairo, Georgia and Ripley, Mississippi. These businesses were merged with Oil-Dri Corporation of America.

In an effort to secure the Company’s supply of raw materials, Nick purchased a 22% stake of the Cairo Production Company located in Cairo, Georgia and 35% of Howell Southern Products in Ripley, Mississippi.


After finishing his military service, Dick Jaffee began his full-time career at Oil-Dri.


Milestone: The Company had 15 teammates, sales averaged 20,000 tons a year and hit $1 million and the Company made a $6,000 profit.


Nick Jaffee purchased the Jacksons’ portion of the business and became the sole owner of the Company.


Oil-Dri was incorporated in Illinois and became Oil-Dri Corporation of America.

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