Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2021
For the introductory decades of Beck’s, the company consisted of Francis, his wife Pauline, their youngest child, Sonny, and a few farm employees. Its simple business plan called for reinvesting most of the profit back into the enterprise. It resembled the same steps followed by many farmers: Grow a little crop. Sell a little crop. Buy another little farm. Repeat.
Doing business of any kind, whether during the Great Depression or in today’s economy, calls for intelligent saving, careful planning, and vigilant management. The decisions that Francis Beck made then affected everything moving forward. Decades later, the decisions that were made by the Beck’s founders shaped the company’s mission statement we uphold today: helping farmers succeed.
Success looks different from operation to operation. It may be hitting a certain yield on the monitor in the combine, bringing the next generation to the family business on board, or just getting the to-do list done before the weather turns.
At Beck’s, there are many ways that we go about helping farmers succeed. Beck’s seed advisors and dealers sprinkled throughout our marketing territory are the foundation of our support system for our customers. They are the gateway to Practical Farm Research (PFR)®, FARMserver®, our regional product specialists, and the many other resources that Beck’s provides farmers to help them reach their goals.
In addition to employees and the family of dealers, Beck’s has 17 facilities across 15 states that have the capacity for production, processing, research, storage, distribution, and on-farm agronomic research. By continuing to invest in facilities throughout our marketing territory, we can better accommodate farmers with high-quality, localized service.
In the last six months, Beck’s acquired the previously owned Bayer processing plant in Beaman, Iowa, purchased the Hartung Brothers facility in Coon Rapids, Iowa, began operation in Atlanta, IN, in one of the largest soybean processing towers in the world, and added Nebraska to their marketing territory. A great deal has happened in terms of expansion, and Sonny has made sure that the opportunity to grow doesn’t affect customer service in anything but a positive way.
To some, bigger may be better, but to Sonny and his family, getting better before you get bigger is what sets them apart from their competitors.
Early on, the motto for Beck’s described the company as “big enough to get the job done, yet small enough to do it right.” Since the beginning, Francis Beck put a strong emphasis on doing the right thing for farmers. It’s a one-on-one, personal relationship that still stands at the center of everything the company does.
“We expand when we have the right people to represent our company. Until we find those people, we focus on making the company better to serve the American farmer. We can always be better,” Sonny said.
It all goes back to what farmers will need next. With growth plans in place five to ten years ahead of time, Beck’s remains flexible to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. It is important to continue adding facilities, employees, and dealers to further provide farmers with localized service and sustain the vision to build before it is necessary. The new facilities in Iowa allow Beck’s to maximize efficiency, stay ahead of demand, and deliver products faster to Iowa and surrounding areas, similar to the new soybean tower in Atlanta, IN, which will double Beck’s soybean processing at Atlanta to six million bushels per year.
It may be tempting to grow at a quicker pace, but with customer service being the focal point of the company, Sonny is content with making sure Beck’s can serve farmers until their needs are fulfilled. He said that, “buildings are easy, but it’s the attitude of the people inside them that make our company grow.”
“Helping others is just one of the attitudes of Beck’s people,” Sonny says. The family-owned seed company now covers roughly 75% of the land where corn and soybeans are grown in the United States. For Sonny and his family, their passion is to help your family farm succeed.
Author: Janelle Mitzner
Categories: CropTalk, 2021