The Farmers Elevator Grain & Supply Company
Ohio, with its fertile soil and moderate climate, has long been one of the country’s top agricultural producers. It’s one of the nation’s top producers of soybean and corn and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ohio’s agricultural industry contributes $93 billion to the state’s economic growth and employs one-in-seven Ohioans. The Farmers Elevator Grain & Supply Company is a locally-owned grain cooperative – currently celebrating its 100th year anniversary – that has been helps its members grow and get their products to the market.
Tim Hockman, general manager for the Farmers Elevator, outlines the company’s history in the industry. “We go back to 1912 when we started with one facility and have grown the company to four facilities today. We provide our member farms with a comprehensive number of services to help them grow more efficiently and provide them with the buying power of a much larger group.”
Farmers Elevator, which has grain elevators in Pleasant Bend, North Creek and Standley, Ohio, offers member farms custom application of chemicals and fertilizers with its top-of-the-line Agco 7650 Spra-Coupe sprayers and liquid Field Gymmy. The company also maintains two dry fertilizer machines that can spread multiple fertilizers at variable rates.
Fleet of Farm Machines available for Rent
The company also maintains a fleet of farm equipment that is available for rent including fourteen fertilizer spreaders and two liquid applicators. The company’s Pleasant Bend branch also hauls grain from a member farm to the grain elevators and for members who need them; Farmers Elevator maintains a wide variety of chemicals and fertilizers for sale as well.
While grain elevators have remained essentially the same over the years, the technology to produce crops for the elevators has advanced significantly. Farmers Elevator is fully conversed in Variable-rate technology (VRT). “Variable-rate technology describes any technology that enables farmers to get the most for his money,” says Hockman. “A lot of the company’s growth in the last three years can be directly attributed to our expertise in VRT.”
VRT combines a variable-rate (VR) control system with application equipment to apply inputs at a precise time and/or location to achieve site-specific application rates of inputs. A complement of components, such as a DGPS receiver, computer, VR software, and controller are integrated to make VRT work. A site-specific approach allows growers to apply products only where they are needed in a field.
Varying the application of inputs can reduce input and labor costs, maximize productivity, and reduces the impact over-application may have on the environment. Examples of VR applications for agriculture include fertilizer, lime, seeding and pesticides.
“VRT, or precision agriculture, is extremely important because it maximizes a farmer’s efficiency and production. Farms that used to produce 100 pounds per acre are now seeing with precision agriculture 300 pounds per acre,” reveals Hockman. VRT is also better for the environment as it lowers the amount of fertilizer used on the soil and helps to prevent over-farming the land.
Large Selection of Pesticides
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that weeds represent the most important pest complex and published a report that estimated that the impact of weeds on the United States economy exceeds $20 billion annually. Farmers Elevator has a full line of pre and post emergent herbicides, fungicides and insecticide programs for wheat, corn and soybeans.
Hockman is uniquely qualified to manage Farmers Elevator. He started out as a laborer with the company and worked his way up the chain to his current position. “Having come from the fields, I understand every aspect of the business,” he adds.
Looking towards the future, Hockman is excited about the 100-year old company’s future. “We’ve enjoyed steady growth over the last couple of years, and I anticipate that continuing,” adds Hockman. “We’re exploring the idea of a merger with another local cooperative so that we will be able to add even more benefits for our members.”
The Midwest has long been considered the bread basket for the world because of the region’s climate and superior soil, but individual farmers have cooperatives to thank for their growing clout. The Farmers Elevator Grain & Supply Company has been helping its member farmers in northern Ohio for 100 years and under Tim Hockman’s leadership, the company is staying abreast of the latest trends in the industry with precision agriculture and is supplying its members with state-of-the-art equipment to help them become even more efficient.