Bonnell Grain Handling Inc.
Celebrating 40 years in business in 2016, Bonnell Grain Handling Inc. (BGHI) remains a leader in the grain-handling equipment business. Located in Star City, Indiana, the highly skilled staff at BGHI assists its clients in designing cost-effective facilities for their immediate needs while planning for expansion as businesses grow. Since its inception, the company’s primary goals have remained the same: to provide quality equipment, workmanship, service and training to Indiana farmers.
BGHI was founded in 1976 by brothers Mark and Milo Bonnell. Over the years, the company has grown from working out of Mark’s house to owning three separate warehouses and a 40,000-square-foot facility. Through the expansion in facilities and scope of work, the business model has remained the same. As a service-oriented company, BGHI has consistently served both the farm and commercial markets.
Knowledge, skill and efficiency
Having established a solid client base, there is no job too big or too small for BGHI to handle. From smaller repair work to large commercial facilities, the company provides a level of service and attention to detail that has placed the company a step above the rest in its regional market of northern and central Indiana. “We take extreme pride on not only being knowledgeable and skilled at what we do, but also being very prompt,” says Adam Peppers, operations and marketing manager for BGHI. “There are between 30 and 40 bin builders in northern Indiana alone, so the competition is high.”
With the ever-changing price of grain, on-farm storage has become a great marketing tool for farmers. While creating marketing flexibility, on-farm storage also increases profitability while saving time due to the long lines at elevators. “Pretty much everybody has on-farm storage right now,” says Peppers. “If they don’t yet, they will be getting it soon. It’s just so much more efficient.”
BGHI recently introduced a brand-new service to for its clients. The company now offers the same service at the end of the season that its customers have grown to expect during harvest. For a discounted labor rate, BGHI will go to its clients’ locations and thoroughly clean their grain dryers from top to bottom. This helps BGHI customers protect their long-term investments. In addition to its cleaning service, BGHI has also introduced its new postseason dryer inspection. This 30-point inspection helps pinpoint trouble spots for the coming year.
A personal company
Peppers has found that the relationships BGHI establishes with its customers have become the most rewarding aspect of the business for him. “We work with some fun, great people,” he says. “I’m only 28, so a lot of my friends from high school are starting to take over their family farms. It’s great to be able to help them along in their journey and they’re helping me as well. That has been the best part of this job.”
Peppers got his start in the agriculture business immediately upon graduating from high school. He began working summers at BGHI while he attended Purdue University pursuing a degree in agriculture. “I’ve known the founders of BGHI, Mark and Milo, my entire life,” shares Peppers. “When I graduated from college, Mark offered me a job and I’ve been here ever since.”
Peppers has gone from working on a construction and maintenance crew with BGHI to accepting an office position in 2010. He is now in charge of marketing and personnel, with a fair amount of sales responsibility. Milo has retired from the company while Mark remains heavily involved.
With approximately 15 employees at peak season, Peppers says the quality of the team at BGHI is the company’s biggest strength. “We have many years of combined experience with all of our employees,” Peppers explains. “We have some younger people that have grown up in the industry and some people like Mark who have been doing it for 40-plus years and completely understand what’s going on in the market.”
While BGHI is a supplier of GSI grain systems, Sioux Steel and Layco by Yargus, among others, the company is able to perform service and maintenance for any brand name. “We have always done our best to remain diversified, which has helped us gain numerous opportunities” says Peppers. “We’re able to help any client regardless of what brand of equipment they have.”
It is this type of diversity and dedication to customer satisfaction that will enable Bonnell Grain Handling Inc. to remain a leader in the northern and central Indiana grain handling business for many years to follow.