Deering, North DakotaDownload
Jerry and Dana Miller didn't find farming a 6,000 acre spread challenging enough and so they decided to found agronomy company Agritec, Inc. in 1999.
The Millers have been expanding sales ever since. In fact, they’ve grown 20% every year since they started and anticipate that growth will continue.
Diversified agricultural interests
Jerry, a third generation farmer, started farming right out of high school. Eventually, he took over his family’s operation and added acreage over time, selling his crop to local elevators. At the same time he was running their sizeable farm, Jerry was also an aerial applicator, piloting a plane to treat crops from the air. He also sold crop protection products to local farmers.
It was Jerry and Dana's interest in agronomy – which includes fertilization and other chemical inputs that reduce water usage, protect plants and increase yields and lead to less expensive food for consumers – that led them to establish Agritec. As they established the company, they built upon Jerry’s agricultural knowledge and Dana’s business management skills.
The Millers operated Agritec out of their home office until 2002 when they purchased a nearby grain elevator. This purchase was a significant investment that included building their first outdoor blending plant to provide fertilizer for themselves and other area farmers. The plant custom blend fertilizer, not based simply on crop, but based upon each individual customer’s soil needs. This means that Dana and Jerry spend hours on the phone each day consulting with farmers about their fertilizer needs.
Great customer service led to quick expansion
“It didn’t take long to outgrow the first plant,” Jerry said. And in 2008, the Millers built a new indoor blending plant facility. “In a normal year we’ll ship between 7,000 and 9,000 tons of blended fertilizer to sites in Canada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota.” This is no small task when you consider that all material has to be shipped in and out by truck. “The rail spur was abandoned some time ago, and transportation is certainly a challenge,” Jerry said.
“We are very lucky that Jerry and I are good business partners,” said Dana. “We’ve built a good life for ourselves and an awesome life for our kids.” And with much appreciation, Dana said, “We couldn’t do it all alone. We are very lucky to have the outstanding employees that we do.”