News

News and Information

Co-op Looks to the Past and Prepares for the Future

 May 30, 2018 -- Feed & Grain Link

Farmers Exchange an Elevator Co. invests in a $3.5 million feed mill expansion as it nears its 100-year anniversary

 

Farmers Exchange and Elevator Co. of Monroe City, MO, is approaching a milestone: 100 years of service to the community that it was founded in and the generations of farmers that have relied on it through good times and bad.

The cooperative has continuously adapted to its customers over the past century, but after an F2 tornado swept through the small community in 2006, the company’s perseverance and compassion were tested.

Twelve years later, Farmers Exchange and Elevator Co. has become stronger than ever, with increased profits and a $3.5 million expansion to its feed mill that has once again aligned it with its customers’ needs.  

1919 to 1960

A Certificate of Incorporation was awarded to Farmers Exchange and Elevator on June 6, 1919. A year later, it became a cooperative. During the first few decades, the company focused on meeting its customers’ needs, offering services members required and could be accomplished at the site. In addition to grain storage, the site hosted a stockyard, marketed produce and even dealt in wool. “I think they did about anything their members needed and they could make a buck on,” explains Marlin McCormick, general manager. “Most of the employees were hard workers, and they were located on the rail. So, they dealt in anything they could unload or load onto a railcar. Life was hard. Work was tough.” 

Farmers Exchange and Elevator started making feed in the ‘40s, mixing for brands like Purina, Wayne Feeds, Critic, and eventually Farmland Industries. During that time, it also mixed its own brand, MC Pride.

In 1960, the company built the concrete grain silos that still tower over the campus today. While the silos are still operational and have held up well in their almost 60 years of service, the $160,000 price tag and 250,000-bushel storage raised some eyebrows in the community when first proposed.

“People in the community said the silos  were too big and would never be needed,’” says McCormick. “At the time, 250,000 bushels of space was just huge.”

The company continued to adapt to the needs of its customers through both lean and prosperous years, but the cause of the next wave of large-scale investments can be linked to one tragic event. 

Tornado

On Sunday, March 12, 2006, the state of Missouri experienced 72 tornadoes. An F4 tornado spawned in Monroe county and made its way toward the small community bearing the same name. It had weakened to an F2 by the time it hit town, but the damage was substantial to anything in its path, including Farmers Exchange and Elevator Co. That night, after the tornado, McCormick went to the co-op campus to survey the damage. 

“When we first arrived, we thought everything was okay until we saw the backside — the whole back of the building was gone,” McCormick recalls. “We pulled our vehicle up to the front door, and used the light from the headlights and flashlights to gather everything left in the office that was needed to run the business. We worked until 3 in the morning, only leaving when the police told us we needed to because there was another line of storms coming.”

The next day was Monday, so after a sleepless night of gathering what they could, it was time for McCormick and management to head back to the mill and address the workers whose livelihoods had been scattered. The company started with surveying the damage and working to keep its obligations fulfilled.

“We just started putting things together one at a time. First, we sent employees out to survey the campus, then contacted our customers,” says McCormick. “We were doing some business with Cargill and a lot of business with Land O’Lakes at the time. Luckily, Those corporate mills could handle our orders for us until we were able to get power back on at the feed mill three days later.”

McCormick is still thankful for the reaction he got from the company’s employees, customers and the community.

“Everybody just came together — the whole town,” he explains. “A lot of our customers helped us clean up the mess, then suddenly, it was time to go to the field, and we were able to start dealing with reality again.” Looking back at the tragic event, the tornado was a pivotal point for where Farmers Exchange and Elevator is today. “It made us stronger,” says McCormick. “The tornado didn’t destroy any of the income generating properties of our business. It took our office and warehouse out, but we got through that. The tornado gave us an opportunity to clear the slate, to think about what we wanted from our facility.” 

Going all in

Since the tornado, Farmers Exchange and Elevator has been making incremental updates and expansions to its campus, starting with a new office and storefront, additional warehouse space and more grain storage.

The management team realized there was additional opportunity on the feed manufacturing side of the business, because of the relationship they had with their customers. 

“This mill’s opportunity lies in giving our local co-op customers a place to market their grain without having to drive 30 miles away,” says Ron Dean, livestock consultant.  “The main point to building this feed mill expansion was either going into feed with both feet or just rolling backward,” explains McCormick.

But any expansion would first have to overcome a major roadblock — space. Farmers Exchange and Elevator is located on a narrow strip of land nestled between a city road and a rail line. There is little room to add a building without demolishing another, and the land around the elevator is either owned by the town or railroad or is residential property. If the company wanted to stay in the same location they were founded at almost 100 years ago, they would have to get creative.

“We started interviewing potential suppliers of equipment and services in 2014, even inviting a few here to take a hard look at our place,” says McCormick. “Some of them just ran as fast as they could to get away from us. Some only wanted to work on a new facility.”

A new facility was not an option for the co-op, and the team had to figure out how to build on the land they had. Poepping, Stone, Bach & Associates, Inc., Quincy, IL, helped devise a solution for the limited space available for building. After years of research and planning, the team got approval from the co-op board in November 2016 and got to work.

“We didn’t have much space so we were forced to build high and low rather than side to side,” says Dean. The strange building conditions were not the only issues millwright Industrial Enterprises Inc. of Mid Missouri, Jefferson City, MO, worked around. A high water table and a need to keep the current portion of the mill running during construction played large roles in how the new portion of the mill was built.

“We were moving tanks around as we dug the holes that would house our mixer and other equipment,” says Dean. “We would kind of just move things slightly to the side of the hole to dig, that way we could stay operational during the project.”

The hardships paid off when the advantages of a modern mill revealed themselves to the mill management, employees and customers. 

A major upgrade

The mill has never had much storage for finished feed on site. The realities of modern livestock farming, primarily swine raising in this instance, mean that different formulas of feed are needed for different breeds, growth requirements and nutritionist recommendations.

It’s easier for Farmers Exchange and Elevator Co. to mix the feed a customer needs rather than predicting what he or she will want. A large micro-ingredient system with 24 bins and tote bag system from Easy Automation, Inc., Welcome, MN, makes that process simpler and faster for the co-op.

A new automation system from Easy Automation Inc., a set of eight 12-ton loadout bins and a 65 ton/ hour mixer from Scott Industries, Inc., New Prague, MN, has allowed the mill to exponentially improve the load-time of trailers.  “The old mill was taking about 50 minutes to load a trailer full of feed,” explains McCormick. “Now we can make 96 tons in 90 minutes and fill a trailer in six minutes.”

Speed is just one of the many modernizations of the mill expansion but not every improvement focused on increasing productivity of the mill. Heated workstations, a bathroom in the mill, and better ventilation are all focused on increasing the productivity of the employees in the mill. These features also focus on bringing to the forefront the people that are the company’s most important asset.

Farmers Exchange and Elevator Co. survived through World War II, the Great Depression, and countless other large and small calamities by pulling together as a company and community. The new mill expansion will serve as a capstone to the company’s first century of existence and readies it to continue to serve its community for another 100 years.

 

AgTrax Announces New Director of Development

HUTCHINSON, KS -- March 1, 2018 -- AgTrax - The industry-leading Grain Accounting software firm based in Hutchinson, KS has announced a transition in its product development department that compliments the strong capabilities of the leadership team, providing continuity in management and enhancing the company's commitment to focusing on long-term growth and industry demands.


President Gayle Lewis has announced the promotion of Brad Ryan as the new Director of Development.
An alumni of Wichita State University and an employee of the firm for more than 7 years, Mr. Ryan has held multiple significant roles within the organization.


‘Brad has been an integral component to the forward-facing direction of AgTrax since the day he arrived,’ says Lewis, ‘his knowledge of the code, software, staff, customer base and industry will serve him well as he steps into this new position.’

Mr. Ryan brings a diverse blend of agribusiness experience and leadership roles which will aide his transition to this new position.
‘We are in an exciting season at AgTrax’ says Ryan, ‘leading the outstanding development team that is already in place as we continue to introduce new API technologies and strategic partners to our existing network will provide our customer base with a significant set of cross-functional applications going forward.’

About AgTrax

AgTrax (www.agtrax.com ) is known as the Industry Standard in Grain Accounting systems, offering an array of comprehensive, reliable integrated software programs and complete systems designed specifically for grain elevators, fertilizer companies, cooperatives, ethanol production facilities, feed stores, agronomy service providers, petroleum providers and other types of businesses in agriculture. Agribusiness accounting is the core of what we do, but the diversity in our system architecture and introduction of integrated partner applications makes us the best fit for any agribusiness.

AgTrax Meets Industry Demands with Acquisition of KTrack Software from Kasa Controls & Automation

November 14th, 2017
Hutchinson, KS - AgTrax continues to pave the way for agribusiness accounting software standards, meeting industry demands with its recently completed acquisition of KTrack from Kasa Controls & Automation. “AgTrax is tremendously excited about this acquisition as it provides our customer base with cutting-edge bin management software designed to meet federal guidelines and processor demands for grain traceability” says Gayle Lewis – President of AgTrax.
AgTrax will rebrand and enhance the KTrack software suite to provide additional functionality to the existing product. This software provides real time bin inventory management of commodity volume and average grade factors to improve operational, management, and merchandising efficiency. It will save time and increase accuracy by automatically transferring data from AgTrax Scale Interface to KTrack with no manual entry required. It will allow organizations to keep precise logs and quickly access historical information in the case of inspection or a contamination incident. Users will have the ability to manage and assign grading factors, transfer commodities from bin to bin, and customize colors of the commodities on the visual graphics of their facilities. Historical ticket data includes producer detail, field, weights, factors, and much more available at the click of a mouse.
“This field-ready software will bring a new level of functionality to our existing systems and the enhancements we have planned will excite our customer base with the traceability that will be easily accessible to them”, says Lewis. He continues, “We work diligently to provide our software users with the tools necessary to efficiently operate their organizations and the acquisition of KTrack aligned seamlessly with our existing suite of grain handling software.”
Contact AgTrax today to inquire: sales@agtrax.com / (866)360-0016

About Kasa Controls & Automation


Kasa Controls & Automation is a provider of turnkey industrial control systems and automation services. KTrack, initially developed by Kasa Controls & Automation, is the software solution for tracking inbound and outbound grain ticket data. With a graphical presentation, you get a real-time visual representation of your bin inventory. A simple click on any bin provides you with the ticket detail that makes up the bin inventory.

​​​​​​​Synergex Announces CEO Change

Synergex Announces CEO Change

 

August 29, 2017

Gold River, California – Synergex International Corporation today announced that its Board of Directors has elected William Mooney, President of Synergex International since 2012, as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mooney succeeds Michele Wong as she retires from her position as CEO, effective September 1, 2017.

Wong has been with Synergex for 35 years, beginning in 1982 as a systems programmer, and rapidly progressing through the positions of project leader and vice president of software development. She was promoted to executive vice president in late 1984, became president in November 1990, and was named CEO in December 1996. Wong is also the president and CEO of CleanWorld, a national leader working to research, design, and build renewable energy systems that convert food and green waste to biogas and agricultural products.

Wong has been named one of the “Best and Brightest in Sacramento” by Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento’s 2006 Businesswoman of the Year by the Sacramento Metro Chamber, and one of the “Women Who Mean Business” by Sacramento Magazine in 2007. She was honored by Jr. Achievement of Sacramento in the 2008 Sacramento Business Hall of Fame, and was chosen Woman Innovator of the Year by Northstate Innovate in 2013. She is deeply immersed in the Sacramento community, and has served on boards that include SARTA, KVIE Channel 6, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Leadership Forum, and the Sacramento Metro Chamber. She continues to be passionate about the community, currently on the board of St. John’s Program for Change and co-chair of the capitol campaign for the new $50 million Powerhouse Science Center on Sacramento’s riverfront.

“On behalf of the Board and the company, I want to thank Michele for her many contributions to Synergex,” said Ken Lidster, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board. “During her tenure as Synergex's CEO, she has a long list of accomplishments and has received numerous recognitions for her efforts.”

“I feel confident in knowing that I’m leaving operations in the hands of a very experienced and competent leadership team, which will be led by Bill Mooney,” said Wong. She will continue in her role on the Synergex Board of Directors and as a shareholder. In addition, she will remain in her role as CEO of CleanWorld and is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Tony.

Mooney started at Synergex in 1983 as an Account Manager; after eight months, he left to work for ADI America. In 1985, Mooney returned to Synergex as Sales Manager. Over the years, he broadened his responsibilities, with promotions to Director of Sales, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, General Manager of the Synergy Business Unit, and in 2012, President of Synergex International.

“It is an honor to be appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Synergex,” said Mooney. “During my 30+ years here, I have built strong relationships with our customers and have helped many of them maximize their software investment and increase their profitability. I’m looking forward to increasing the value of our products and services, and continuing to grow.”

About Synergex

For over 40 years, Synergex technologies have been at the foundation of many of the applications that drive commerce around the world. Every day, millions of users interact with systems in e-commerce, global logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and other industries that are built on or managed by Synergex solutions.

Contact

Gabi Iannarelli

Director of Marketing

Synergex International Corporation

Office: (916) 853-0367

gabi.iannarelli@synergex.com

MYRIAD MOBILE INTRODUCES INDUSTRY-FIRST MOBILE GRAIN APP PLATFORM – BUSHEL™

Fargo, ND, June 21, 2017 – Myriad Mobile (Myriad), an enterprise software technology company focused on mobile and web applications, today introduced its new mobile grain app platform – Bushel™. Bushel is the grain industry’s first automated mobile app platform for elevators and cooperatives to connect with their growers and deliver real-time actionable information via a mobile app. 

 

Click here to read more

Herman celebrates 20 year anniversary!!

AgTrax President Gayle Lewis presented Gene Herman- Director of Quality Assurance with a commemorative award for 20 years of service to the company and its customers.













TraxView® now integrated into Bushel™ mobile app platform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

TraxView® now integrated into Bushel™ mobile app platform

Partnership offers a streamlined solution for AgTrax customers
Hutchinson, KS and Fargo, ND, August 3, 2017–AgTrax®, an industry-leading agribusiness software firm and Myriad Mobile, an enterprise software technology company focused on mobile and web applications, today announced a partnership to custom integrate the TraxView® accounting software into the Bushel™ mobile grain app platform.
Bushel is the grain industry’s first automated mobile app platform for elevators and cooperatives to connect with their growers and deliver real-time actionable information via a mobile app.
TraxView® is an industry-leading grain accounting system used by more than 1400 grain elevator, cooperative and feed company locations in the U.S. and Canada.
“As we started contacting elevators across the U.S., about the Bushel platform, many were AgTrax customers,” said Dane Braun, Bushel Product Manager. “Through partnering we’re able to offer them a robust mobile app solution to add value to their client base,” added Braun.
Bushel’s secure, cloud-based platform eliminates data entry and streamlines communication enabling growers to connect directly with their elevator via the app to receive bids, track contracts, monitor markets and check pre-paid amounts. Bushel is powered by a proprietary application programming interface (API) and translator.
“While Bushel’s powerful API can work with any accounting system, it just made sense to create a custom solution for TraxView, ” added Braun. “This will enable us to bring AgTrax customers onboard and online more quickly.”
Bushel’s mobile app delivers information to the elevator’s customers including real-time scale tickets, contracts, pre-pays, price laters and cash bids. The mobile apps “sport” intuitive design, robust features, quality and best available security.
“Increased functionality utilizing API technology with our ever-growing partner network is an important aspect of our business,” said Chuck Jenkins, Director of Marketing and Sales for AgTrax. “By integrating our TraxView accounting software into Bushel’s cloud-based platform, we’re leveraging that technology while empowering our grain industry clients to better serve their producer customers through a mobile app.”
While AgTrax will be seamlessly integrated into the Bushel platform, the mobile apps will remain custom branded to each elevator–maintaining the local name with the grower.
“Our goal now is to educate our customers on the capabilities of the Bushel platform,” added Jenkins. “We share the technology-first business strategy Bushel was built-on and know our clients can leverage this new tool to deliver real-time data, empower better decisions and ultimately strengthen relationships with their customers.”
AgTrax has planned a series of joint marketing initiatives with the Bushel team to communicate the new technology to their customer base including webinars, sales training/calls and other promotion.
“We see this as a valuable new business and product development relationship as we expand Bushel’s footprint and add features to ultimately help growers meet the challenges of global agriculture,” concluded Braun.
AgTrax customers wishing to receive a sales call regarding Bushel can contact AgTrax at: 866.360.0016 or the Bushel team at: contact@bushel.ag.
###
 

About Bushel™

Bushel is the grain industry's first automated mobile grain app platform for elevators and cooperatives to connect with their growers and deliver real-time actionable information. Offered through a custom-branded mobile app, Bushel includes real-time scale tickets, contracts, pre-pays and cash bids. Bushel is a secure, cloud-based platform powered by a proprietary application interface (API) and translator built by Myriad Mobile that enables integration with any accounting system.
 

About AgTrax™

AgTrax offers an array of comprehensive, reliable integrated software programs and complete systems designed specifically for grain elevators, fertilizer companies, cooperatives, ethanol production facilities, feed stores, agronomy service providers, petroleum providers and other types of businesses in agriculture. With an accounting core, the diversity of the AgTrax system architecture and introduction of integrated partner applications is a good fit for any agribusiness.
 

Bushel Contact:

Camille Grade
701.730.0694
 

AgTrax Contact:

Chuck Jenkins
620.560.6414

AgTrax announces leadership transition to foster next chapter of growth and success

AgTrax - the industry leading Grain Accounting software firm based in Hutchinson, KS has announced that its ownership has implemented a leadership transition plan that leverages the strong capabilities of the executive team, provides continuity in management, and underscores the Company's commitment to focusing on long-term growth and industry leadership.

President Gary Hobbs has announced his retirement effective December 1, 2016 and Gayle Lewis has been promoted to replace him.

An alumni of Kansas State-Salina, and an employee of the firm since its inception in 1996, Mr. Lewis has held multiple roles within the organization, most recently as Director of Operations.  
‘Gayle has been an integral component in the leadership and direction of AgTrax since the day he arrived,’ says Hobbs, ‘his knowledge of the software, staff, customer base and industry will serve him well as he steps into this new position.’

Lewis brings his experiences with multiple ERP systems for agriculture retail- namely Professional Data Services, Farmland Industries and Heartland Data Services, to this new leadership role where he has been involved in hiring, training and developing much of the current staff of AgTrax. 

‘This is an exciting time for AgTrax’ says Lewis, ‘leading this talented staff, combined with the introduction of new technologies and functionalities via in-house development teams and our strategic partner network to our customer base is providing a springboard of opportunities for this company going forward.’ 

AgTrax Hires New Director of Development

AgTrax, the fastest growing provider of integrated accounting software to agribusinesses in North America, is pleased to announce the addition of a new Director of Development. 

 

Amanda Slattery-Dubin has been selected to provide leadership to the product development team including guidance on current and future programming deliverables.

 

Ms. Dubin brings her experience from a diverse software background that included stints at new startups as well as long established firms across multiple industry verticals.  Her background will serve AgTrax well as it continues to broaden its presence into multiple agricultural vertical markets.

 

Amanda will be based out of the Hutchinson office.

Announcements