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Agrimarketing : January February 2012
The DEKALB brand and its legendary "winged-ear" have been an industry staple and valued partner on farms across the nation for the past 100 years. A brand started by farmers who refused to settle for the status quo has remained a brand committed to continually raising the bar on corn yields for their farmer customers and dealers. For the past century, DEKALB corn has been planted by fathers, sons, friends and neighbors across the country, demonstrating not only the strength of the brand but, more importantly, the strength of the farmers and dealers who have stood behind the DEKALB name through the ever-evolving industry we call agriculture. In the early 1930s, DEKALB was among the first seed companies to originate the concept of "farmer dealers." It was thought that a farmer would have more trust in the product buying it from their neighbor. That's why DEKALB and its multi-generational dealer network have been integral to the brand's success. Today, the brand's farmer dealers still have a large presence in the marketplace. For many of these farmer-dealer families, selling the latest DEKALB seed has been a tradition passed down through the generations and one that they are proud to continue in the future. MEET THE SALES For brothers Chris and Kevin Sale of Cherryvale, KS, the DEKALB brand has been a staple of their farming operation, planted by both their grandfather and father on their family farm since 1936. In 1986, the Sale brothers decided to add the DEKALB dealership to their farming operation, and they have been growing ever since. "We've grown from selling 600 to 700 bags of corn when we first started to over 6,000 bags of corn last year," says Kevin. "What started out as selling for our own use and to neighbors has greatly expanded, and now we have been in the business for almost 26 years." Kevin and Chris are passionate about what they sell, because, at the end of the day, they are farmers who are planting DEKALB for their livelihoods, just like their neighbors and friends they call customers. The Sale brothers remain committed to the DEKALB brand because of the trust they have in the product. "DEKALB has been a corner- stone of our farming operation for over 75 years, and, in that time, we've watched DEKALB grow within the industry and, within the last decade, seen the products continually get better and better," Kevin says. Sale sees a bright future for their farmer dealership with DEKALB. "The products in the pipeline are tremendous, and every year DEKALB keeps bringing better hybrids to our farmers that keep the customer coming back to DEKALB for performance and reliability," Kevin says. "DEKALB will be a staple of our dealership for years to come." The Sale brothers will be welcoming the next generation into their DEKALB family dealership as Chris' two sons, Cameron and Colby, come home to the farm. MEET R&S SALES In Beaver Creek, MN, farmer dealer Craig Rollag of R&S Sales has fond memories of his lifetime spent with the DEKALB brand. Rollag's great uncle, Clarence Rollag, became a DEKALB dealer in the 1950s, and his father, Leonard Rollag, took over that dealership in 1959 and sold DEKALB seed for the next 35 years. Craig started helping with the family business in the 1980s and today manages the family business along with his seed partner, Brett Stegenga. Rollag still remembers the day that his father started his own DEKALB farmer dealership. "My great uncle Clarence came to my dad and told him that he needed to sell DEKALB corn because it was a great product and he needed to run with it." That advice rings true today as Rollag reflects on the growth his family dealership has seen over the last few years, particularly with the addition of their new seed facility in 2011. Rollag has a deep connection with the brand due to a lifetime 24 Agri Marketing January/February 2012 SALUTE TO DEKALB MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY DEALERS by the Agri Marketing Editors (more on page 26) The Sale Family plans to keep their DEKALB dealership a family affair as they welcome the third generation, Cameron and Colby Sale, back to the farm. According to Kevin, "DEKALB was a staple of our childhood and we have fond memories of planting DEKALB with grandpa." Pictured (l to r) Cameron, Kevin, Don, Chris and Colby Sale.
Marketing Services Guide 2012