Pettisville Grain Co.
Founded in 1903, Pettisville Grain Co. (PCG) is a grain and feed company that has been serving Ohio growers for over 100 years. With locations in Pettisville, West Unity and Delta, Ohio, the company sources corns, beans and wheat from farmers within a 30-mile radius of each location.
In addition to the grain side of the business, PGC raises hogs and cattle and also sells livestock and pet feed and mixes its own custom, in-house blends, including hog grower and finisher, calf starter, milk replacer and custom mineral mixes.
PGC came under its current ownership in 2003, when partners Neil Rupp, Jim Rufenacht, Corwin Rufenacht and Terry Rufenacht bought the company from Rod Nofziger. Neil started with the company when he was just 16 and now serves as president of PGC, where a staff of 23 employees serves over 300 local growers.
Upgrades ensure less wait time for busy growers
Over the last few years, PCG has made major investments at two of its facilities in a bid to stay efficient come harvest season. At the Delta location, PCG replaced three elevating legs and installed a new dump pit. “That will allow for farmers to take away grain very efficiently and fast,” says Rupp. The new elevating legs will also allow PGC to streamline their process, allowing two types of grain to be deposited simultaneously.
In Pettisville, PGC also installed new elevating legs and an additional grain pit alongside a new grain bin. The increased capacity will ensure that farmers won’t have to waste valuable time waiting to unload grain come harvest. “We decided to be more proactive so that we can take in more grain at one time and farmers don’t have to wait in line,” says Rupp.
These upgrades to PGC’s facilities were made possible thanks to a $500,000 low-interest loan offered by the Toledo Port Authority, which allowed the company to tackle both projects at once. “Normally these projects would take place over a three- to four-year period, but we’ve elected to do it in one,” says Rupp.
PGC had been running an off-site storage facility while the renovations were in the works, but that came with its own set of headaches, according to Rupp. “On the face of it, it looks pretty cheap, but it’s very labor intensive and there was a lot of additional overtime and expense, so we decided to build right on the property instead of hauling it there and back again,” he says.
PGC has continued to integrate emerging technologies into the business, with a newly revamped website that allows customers to see live grain bids and other relevant industry information. “We knew that the website was a weak spot in our business and we knew that it could help keep people better informed,” says Rupp.
The company has also turned to mass texts as a way to connect with customers, sending out live grain prices throughout the day to customers, whether they’re in the office or roaming the back 40. The text messaging service has been very popular with PGC’s customers, who regularly ask to be added to the list.
For PGC the mass text is not only a good way to keep current customers abreast of market fluctuations, but also an important statement of the company’s intent to stay up-to-date on new and emerging technology trends. “A lot of older farmers are out of the tech stage, but their sons and daughters are coming into the business and that’s the way they get their information,” says Rupp. “If we hadn’t done that, we would have fallen by the wayside because they don’t use telephones to make calls anymore.”
Customer-first attitude bolsters business
While it’s important to adapt to new trends and best practices, Rupp says that nothing beats good old customer service. “I think that’s key no matter what business you are in,” he says. To that end, PGC offers a free grain pickup service for growers. “That’s kind of unusual because trucks don’t run for free, but it’s one way we can generate grain and it all comes back to customer service and making the customer feel welcomed,” adds Rupp.
He also believes in giving back to the community and those who help keep the business running. “Part of success, the way we define it, is being able to give back to our employees and the community. Other people might be more concerned about profits and filling their pockets, but that’s not our philosophy; we want to be successful by helping others,” says Rupp.
With newly expanded facilities and a willingness to integrate new technological trends into its business to ensure that Ohio farmers and growers can remain competitive, Pettiseville Grain Co. will continue to be a leader in the Ohio feed and grain market.