(Editor’s Note: The following article is the second in a series of three that illustrates how farming has always been an essential part of the Elsberry Community from land, to supplies and finally getting crops to their final destination.)
Once again the technology in products and services that are available to the farmer has improved leaps and bounds compared to what was available on the market 20 years ago.
Research and development at large chemical companies such as DuPont, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta continue to spend millions on finding just the right seed from hybrids to chemicals necessary to help the products grow. Gone is the day where a seed was planted and farmers did nothing to it but watch it grow.
Four independent sales representatives for Seed Companies and a company owned business, supply the Elsberry area with the competitiveness to choose the product that works the best on their land. All locally owned businesses offer an extensive personal history in farming to add knowledge to an asset for their companies.
The earliest talk of Elsberry seed businesses can be found in Ray Young’s history book called Cultivating Cooperation, A History of the Missouri Farms Association.
In that book, he refers to: “Farm clubs at Elsberry organized a farmers cooperative elevator and raised the money to fund it in forty-eight hours. The elevator manager also managed the local MFA livestock shipping association.” The year he gives is 1919. That year MFA pushed for (and won) passage of state legislation enabling farmers to coalesce and form agencies to incorporate and do business as cooperative. So by extension, Elsberry was one of the first to organize.
Since the Elsberry farmers began MFA facilities in 1919, one can only assume they were operating in the area for some time prior to 1919. Farm clubs were a collection of area farmers meeting in a local venue. At those meetings, they discussed MFA issues and the idea of forming local agencies to better their financial conditions. From those meetings, as noted by Ray Young above, sprung MFA facilities like the Elsberry MFA Exchange and the MFA Livestock Shipping Association.
MFA Agri-Services offers the largest variety of farming items and has on hand knowledgeable staff to assist with customers.
Products include fertilizer, DeKalb seed, Anhydrous, feed for cattle, chicken, goats, horses, garden and lawn fertilizer, fencing supplies, and items for domestic animals. Services provided are spraying chemicals, yield monitoring and calibration services, yield mapping, multiyear analysis, short and long term crop removal, population rate analysis and soil analysis. Manager of the Elsberry MFA, Bryan Hensley, believes in customer service. If there is a product you are looking for he will do his best to try and get that product for the customer.
Pioneer Seeds has been around since at least 1958 when Richard Herring began selling the seed from his home. Now named DuPont Pioneer, these seeds are available at Beauchamp Seed LLC, owned and operated by Myra Beauchamp.
The business, which Beauchamp has been running since 2000, is located north of town in it’s state of the art facility. Recently added in 2010 to the business are four large bulk tanks, which allow Beauchamp to sell soybeans in bulk, which in turn, give the customer more convenience and is a time saver when filling their planters.
Products available include corn, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, alfalfa and sudan grass.
When asked about the biggest change she has seen in the business over the years, Beauchamp replied, “the advancement in research and development, especially the changes with traits regarding the hybrid seed corn.”
Beauchamp has also invested in seed tenders for her customers to use that assist with planting in a more timely manner. She grew up watching and learning from her grandfather, Ray Hatcher, who managed the Champ Goodwood Farms for over fifty years.
Continuing her love for farming with her husband David Beauchamp, together the two own a farm in the Clarksville area. The future for Beauchamp in the business will be chemical sales, which her employee and son, Adam Beauchamp, will be training for this process.
Barber Seed and Service
Barber Seed and Service began in the fall of 2007 by Eric and Nikki Barber. Their business is located west of Elsberry on Hwy B.
Barber’s are seed advisors for Syngenta, offering golden harvest corn, NK soybeans and wheat seed. He can also provided area farmers with custom NH3 fertilizer application for fields.
Barber prides himself on the opportunity to offer his customers Precision Farming Practices. This practice includes yield mapping, GPS steering and grid sampling which allows the farmer to get the most for their money out of their land.
Barber can also offer insight on product placement, which allows him to recommend the best hybrid for corn and the best variety for beans based on the land in the area. The businesses latest investment has been on the purchase of the “Terragator”.
Also available to Barber’s customers is Custom Farming Services. He is able to go to farms and help farmer’s plant seed or harvest crops if needed.
Barber has managed his own 800 acre farm since 1988, but increases that total to over 1300 when assisting his customers.
Nikki handles the paperwork for the business, while Barber handles the farming.
When asked the biggest change he has seen over the years in his business Barber said, “I would say 100% of the seed was bagged, now 100% of the seed is sent in tenders.”
Monsanto seed representative for the Elsberry area is Channel Seed, owned by Matt and Melissa Jones for the last three growing seasons. Jones offers his customers corn, soy bean and milo seed. Channel Seed is located on North Hwy 79 in their newly constructed building.
Jones is experimenting in the area of seed for food plots and cover crop.
During the off season of seed sales, Jones supplements his business by selling Rain and Hail Crop Insurance. This is a federally bonded program and is the largest in the Midwest. Jones is able to offer specific insurance plans based on the location. Jones was raised in a farming family and enjoys all aspects of the industry.
Finally, Mycogen Seed, produced by Dow AgraSciences is available for purchase from Chester Koch. He and his family have been farmers in the area for a number of years. Due to the success he has had with Mycogen seed, Koch decided to offer seed sales to other farmers in the area.