Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gracious Hosts in Kansas, Plus A Big Hole

 So as you see from the above picture, last Tuesday us management types paid a visit to Retail Partner Tyree Ag.  They have been retailers of AgroLiquid since they started fifteen years ago.  In fact, their celebration of this milestone is coming up in November.  How time flies.  I can remember meeting Tim and Paige back in the beginning in their small office when it was just the two of them, and now they have 25 employees and two locations.  Of course much of their success is because they are both alumni of Oklahoma State University.  Well hard work probably helped too.  Below is a picture of one of their ground rigs next to the bulk fertilizer tanks, as they provide custom application. They also sell Pioneer seed and fertilizer.  So why would anyone have to go anywhere else?
We occasionally like to get the senior managers together at one of the retail partners so that we can all learn more about what it takes to market and move AgroLiquid these days.  We took a tour of Tyree Ag's facilities.  Tim shows us their chemical storage and where they load the sprayers.  Lines come in from the outside bulk tanks to load fertilizer here as well.
 There is plenty to see outside as everyone seems to be looking all directions.
 They also have tank trailers for growers to haul fertilizer around as they plant.  No question what kind of fertilizer goes in.  I think they said they have sixty trailers.  Not sure how they keep track of them all as they said it used to be tough in the beginning keeping track of five.
Tim started out as an aerial applicator himself.  He now has two of these Air Tractor 502 planes.  However he admitted that he rarely flies himself anymore due to the size of the business now which keeps him on the ground managing operations.  He said he could still do it, but the complexity of aerial application is more full time than occasional time to keep your brain sharp.  Plus all of the wind turbines around these days are an extra hazard.  They have their hangar set up as a drive through loading operation.
 They also have ferti-Rain and NResponse in those tanks up top which are fed by gravity to the mixer when needed in an application.  The fungicide applications usually include some fertilizer, and sometimes they are added with insecticides as well.
 Lunch makes for a successful meeting, and we were served an excellent meal.  Everyone cleaned their plates.  Several times.
 We also had some discussions on a variety of topics with all employees present.  Here Paige and Tim recall the start up days and their goals for the future.  One thing that was mentioned a number of times by all employees, from truck drivers to salesmen to the office staff, was the value of customer service.  They said that customers see the value of that compared to other retailers.  They also said that many of their customers like dealing with an independent compared to a national retailer, and have gotten some business just for that reason.
 After meeting all day, we went to nearby Greensburg which has a motel and restaurant.  You may recall that Greensburg was 95% destroyed by a big tornado back on May 4, 2007.  It was an EF5 tornado that was two miles wide.  They are still rebuilding.  The mayor came to our manager meeting the next day to talk about the rebuild.  They decided to follow "green" practices.  Even though many of the people stayed and rebuilt, there are still voids in the downtown. The Tyree's lived in Greenburg and lost their house.  Their business in nearby Kinsley was not affected.    
There is a museum in town that we visited.  They showed this pottery piece of the Last Supper that was found after the tornado.  I suppose you could make a connection as to who kept his head through it all.  You can read the story on the sign in back.
The museum is also build over the Big Well.  But not just any well, but it's the biggest hand dug well in the world!  It was finished in 1888 and was 109 feet deep.  It reached into the Ogallala aquifer and had ten feet of water in the bottom.  It supplied water for the town till 1932.  By then they had a regular water tower.  But imagine digging it with picks and shovels and filling barrels of soil and rocks to be lifted out. Now that's real work.
 Here is a view looking down as Nick carries little Ruby down the stairs while Paul, David and Levi walk.  It is encased in stone from nearby.  These stairs are new.  Galynn and I came here maybe fifteen years ago and the stairs then were old and went straight back and forth, not round and round like now.  Oddly enough, this was Tim's first visit here.  But it was on his to-do list.  And he finally did.
This is looking back up from the bottom of the stairway.  It is maybe twenty feet or more from the bottom.  I didn't see any water in the bottom.  I suppose irrigation has lowered the level of the aquifer.
So if you're ever in Greensburg, be sure and drop in.  Or take the stairs like we did.