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Agrimarketing : September 2009
The founders of Precision Planting, Gregg and his wife Cindy Sauder are on a mission. "We want to help corn growers get the most out of their seed invest- ment by improving their planter 's performance above and beyond what the equipment manufacturers do," Sauder reports. That's proven to be a solid business model, considering the price of elite corn hybrids have jumped from $80 to $330 per unit in the past five years. So far, the Sauders and their company's results have been remarkable. As a second generation farmer, located in the flat prairies near Tremont, IL, (15 miles south of Peoria), Sauder was frustrated when year after year he found uneven stands in his corn. "I knew those skips, doubles and uneven emergence were costing me big time in yields and money," he explains. So he went about trying to find some solutions. In 199 , his quest took him to meet Eugene Keeton, a farmer and engineer where he invented the finger pickup corn meter and the brush meter for soybeans which revolutionized seed planting technology in the 1980s, replacing the decades-old planter plate system. "He had a new invention he wanted to show me," Sauder says. "He called it a 'Seed Firmer ' which was a simple plastic tube that pressed the seed into the planting trench before being covered with soil." The Sauders tested it that planting season and were so won over by the results it achieved they became the exclusive distributor for the planter attachment. That was the beginning of Precision Planting in 1993. Since then, the company has broadened its product line, grown to over 80 full-time employees (1 5 during the winter shipping season) and expanded/built a number of offices and warehouses on the Sauder 's original homestead. This summer, the company hired 1 new sales people, all under the age of 30, all with experience in precision farm- ing techniques. PICKET FENCE STANDS To help his customers achieve the "picket fence stands" that help drive higher yields, the company now offers seven product lines which can be purchased separately or in combi- nation as a total planting solution: • Keeton Seed Firmer. • MeterMax Plus Calibration --- to assure proper seeding rates. • eSet Vacuum Meters --- for improved seed release. • Bullseye Seed Tubes --- for accurate seed drop. • Precision Finger Meters --- for greater accuracy in mechanical corn meters. • 20/20 SeedSense --- a planter monitor that measures a wide range of planter functions. 18 Agri Marketing September 2009 COVER STORY MAKING THE BEST EVEN BETTER by Lynn Henderson, Editorial Director GROWING AND GROWING While the company's revenues have been growing by an average of 30% annually, the Sauder 's family has grown as well. They now have seven children, ages 5 to 3. Those old enough are active in the business and the family's farming operation which, itself has grown to 4,000 acres of some of the best farmland in the world. Demonstrating their belief in the future of agriculture, the Sauders recently got into the dairy business, building a state-of-the-art facility and stocking it with purebred Jerseys. Sauder 's sons Tim and Nick are running that operation. When it is milking time, though, all hands are on deck when needed. AM MeterMax Ultra Test Stand eSet Vacuum Meter Precision Finger Meter 20/20 Seed Sense
Best of CAMA 2009