10 Oct 2019
Winter is on the way. Dropping temperatures used to mean a slower season for the team at Prescription Agronomics, which creates customized fertilizers for regional farmers. Director of Operations Jon Gilbert explained that the company’s operations used to decrease during wintertime because their facility was not up to the task.
“Our old plant didn’t have heat,“ Gilbert said. “We weren’t able to do as much blending as in warmer months, so that definitely cut into our potential profits.”
That all changed in 2017. Prescription Agronomics built a brand new, state-of-the-art facility with help from FEM Electric’s REED Fund. The new facility not only allows the company to operate year-round, but Gilbert says it has dramatically increased their output.
Prescription Agronomics launched in 2001. Gilbert explained that the company initially took over an abandoned building. “Our old plant was in tough shape. We fixed it up and made it work for 16 years. And we’ve had tremendous growth over the years. But as we grew, that plant just wasn’t large enough anymore. We needed more space.”
A REED Fund loan helped the company build a new 22,000 square foot facility. Gilbert said that the additional storage space alone allows them to be more efficient and blend more fertilizers, because they can keep a much larger quantity of ingredients on hand. “We now have five times the storage space. We don’t need to stop and restock as often as before.”
Gilbert also said the equipment in the new facility has improved operations. “The pumps work faster. It’s hard to put a number on it, but we’re probably 5 or even 10 times more efficient than before.”
Prescription Agronomics specializes in creating customized fertilizers. The first step is reviewing soil tests for customers. They work with the farmers to figure out which nutrients would work best for that particular crop or field. The team then uses that information to blend the fertilizer.
“This keeps costs down for the farmer because they only need to buy one product,” Gilbert explained. “Before, they may have needed to buy multiple fertilizers. Now, we mix all of the necessary ingredients into one fertilizer. We blend only what the farmer needs.”
Gilbert added, “Farmers are able to get the product right here local instead of having it shipped from hundreds of miles away. They can eliminate freight costs.”
The new facility has allowed Prescription Agronomics to increase its productivity. The company can produce far more fertilizers, in larger quantities, than ever before. Gilbert says the game plan is to continue expanding their footprint.
“We’re focusing on increasing our wholesale business. Agtegra Cooperative is an owner of Prescription Agronomics and also our largest wholesale customer. The coop was recently formed when Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator merged. There is a lot of potential for growth of our current product sales to them and also several new products that we are working on together.”
Prescription Agronomics is also dedicated to continuing to provide customized services to local farmers. Gilbert says the company is encouraging farmers to test their soil now and start planning ahead for spring planting. Check out their website by clicking here.