AgVenture Spangler

Three generations of high-quality seed and service
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Sean Barr

Albert and Linus Spangler established a small, family-run seed business in 1913 on land their father had begun farming in 1877. The Spangler family has a long history of working with the earth and the family tradition has continued generations down the line with an enduring seed operation, serving growers throughout Wisconsin. Today, AgVenture Spangler (AVS) is an independently owned franchise of AgVenture Inc., a national seed company with strong regional representation throughout the country.

John Spangler, Albert’s son and now president of AVS, owns and operates the family business. At 76 years old, he is still active in day-to-day operations. John works beside his son, Jeff Spangler, vice president. Together, John and Jeff oversee a team of 18 people who work full time for the company, as well as a few seasonal employees for the busy summer months.

Putting service first

The Spangler family still sells some in-house produced seeds for grain and grass, although Jeff says a vast majority of revenue comes through the AgVenture line of products. “Our franchise agreement means we own our business, we do the hiring and the firing,” he elaborates. “For the most part though, we are marketing AgVenture’s brands. We have protected territory within the brand and there are 25 to 30 companies like ours that operate the same way in their own territories. Approximately 90 to 95 percent of our revenue comes from products in the AgVenture package.”

While AVS is the only AgVenture operation serving Wisconsin, regional growers do have other options in the local and national market. In order to stand apart, John, Jeff and the team strive for outstanding service.

“There are many farmers out there who do not wish to deal with a big company,” Jeff explains. “The customer base we have here is loyal and we respond to their feedback.” While AVS is supported by the larger AgVenture brand, the team can still operate as a small family business, a factor that keeps local growers coming back.

Keeping up with technology

Corn and soybean seed through AgVenture make up most of sales for AVS. While a solid product line of seeds has held the company for more than 100 years, the way farmers grow crops has changed. Farms are growing, making up for population growth while balancing out a recent decline in new farmers. Today, growers are looking to produce higher yields than ever before, while battling drought, shrinking subsidies and wavering commodities prices.

In order to help customers make the most of investing in seed, AVS has worked through several partnerships with research firms and universities to develop and promote genetically superior seeds and in turn, higher yielding crops that are more resistant to a harsh environment.

“We have seen a drastic change in the industry since the 1990s,” John notes. “Bio-technology came on the scene with companies, such as Monsanto and Dow, which have made huge innovations. These changes have totally revolutionized the way growers in this country produce corn and soybeans. AgVenture is owned by Pioneer/Dupont, so we are a major supplier of those products.”

To keep up, AVS is constantly upgrading production facility equipment and working to develop a team that is up-to-date on best practices. This strong record for evolving with the market helps the business stay efficient, keeping costs down for customers. Maintaining an educated team with real industry experience allows AVS to offer leading expertise in the regional market to growers who want the best return on investment they can get. Joining AgVenture has provided great opportunities for the team with advanced sales training for members of the sales team.

Keeping it in the family

In 2013, AVS celebrated 100 years in business; the Spangler family held a pig roast and invited customers and vendors to join the team in celebration of the big anniversary. It is evident that John and Jeff both take great pride in the company’s strong family history and look forward to continuing the tradition in the coming years.

It is not easy being small in the agricultural supply world, but AVS is still hanging in there. Jeff and John have both seen smaller family companies fall by the wayside as larger conglomerates take over service areas all over the country. The Spangler family has built lasting relationships with customers that have been able to survive industry consolidation. These regional growers have come to rely on AgVenture Spangler for personalized services, innovative products and a reliable chain of supply that is hard to beat.

Albert and Linus Spangler established a small, family-run seed business in 1913 on land their father had begun farming in 1877. The Spangler family has a long history of working with the earth and the family tradition has continued generations down the line with an enduring seed operation, serving growers throughout Wisconsin. Today, AgVenture Spangler (AVS) is an independently owned franchise of AgVenture Inc., a national seed company with strong regional representation throughout the country.

John Spangler, Albert’s son and now president of AVS, owns and operates the family business. At 76 years old, he is still active in day-to-day operations. John works beside his son, Jeff Spangler, vice president. Together, John and Jeff oversee a team of 18 people who work full time for the company, as well as a few seasonal employees for the busy summer months.

Putting service first

The Spangler family still sells some in-house produced seeds for grain and grass, although Jeff says a vast majority of revenue comes through the AgVenture line of products. “Our franchise agreement means we own our business, we do the hiring and the firing,” he elaborates. “For the most part though, we are marketing AgVenture’s brands. We have protected territory within the brand and there are 25 to 30 companies like ours that operate the same way in their own territories. Approximately 90 to 95 percent of our revenue comes from products in the AgVenture package.”

While AVS is the only AgVenture operation serving Wisconsin, regional growers do have other options in the local and national market. In order to stand apart, John, Jeff and the team strive for outstanding service.

“There are many farmers out there who do not wish to deal with a big company,” Jeff explains. “The customer base we have here is loyal and we respond to their feedback.” While AVS is supported by the larger AgVenture brand, the team can still operate as a small family business, a factor that keeps local growers coming back.

Keeping up with technology

Corn and soybean seed through AgVenture make up most of sales for AVS. While a solid product line of seeds has held the company for more than 100 years, the way farmers grow crops has changed. Farms are growing, making up for population growth while balancing out a recent decline in new farmers. Today, growers are looking to produce higher yields than ever before, while battling drought, shrinking subsidies and wavering commodities prices.

In order to help customers make the most of investing in seed, AVS has worked through several partnerships with research firms and universities to develop and promote genetically superior seeds and in turn, higher yielding crops that are more resistant to a harsh environment.

“We have seen a drastic change in the industry since the 1990s,” John notes. “Bio-technology came on the scene with companies, such as Monsanto and Dow, which have made huge innovations. These changes have totally revolutionized the way growers in this country produce corn and soybeans. AgVenture is owned by Pioneer/Dupont, so we are a major supplier of those products.”

To keep up, AVS is constantly upgrading production facility equipment and working to develop a team that is up-to-date on best practices. This strong record for evolving with the market helps the business stay efficient, keeping costs down for customers. Maintaining an educated team with real industry experience allows AVS to offer leading expertise in the regional market to growers who want the best return on investment they can get. Joining AgVenture has provided great opportunities for the team with advanced sales training for members of the sales team.

Keeping it in the family

In 2013, AVS celebrated 100 years in business; the Spangler family held a pig roast and invited customers and vendors to join the team in celebration of the big anniversary. It is evident that John and Jeff both take great pride in the company’s strong family history and look forward to continuing the tradition in the coming years.

It is not easy being small in the agricultural supply world, but AVS is still hanging in there. Jeff and John have both seen smaller family companies fall by the wayside as larger conglomerates take over service areas all over the country. The Spangler family has built lasting relationships with customers that have been able to survive industry consolidation. These regional growers have come to rely on AgVenture Spangler for personalized services, innovative products and a reliable chain of supply that is hard to beat.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Proven Power
Sloan Improvement