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The Ralston Purina company was a major business partner of Hess's Mill. The company had two main brand lines, the Ralston line which had mostly human food products, and the Purina line which was primarily animal feed products, called chows. Hess's Mill was a Purina mill, meaning that it took raw feed grains which it milled and mixed them with the Purina "chow" ingredients which it then sold to its customers.

The Purina ingredients arrived via carload, and delays in the shipments caused the mill to be late filling customer orders. This occurred over several periods in the diary, including February 22 and March 23-24, 1939.

The Herman Brackbill Journal for March 21, 1939 contains a reference to Herman going to a "feed meeting" and hearing Donald Danforth, son of the company's founder, speaking.

More information about Ralston Purina is available on Wikipedia.

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