Lime Ridge Ag Supply was established in October 1986 by current owner Tim Willis. Tim had worked for previous facility owner, Bryce Ewing, of the Gotham area and quickly learned the importance of quality and timely customer service. That inspiration to customer focus is still considered a large contributor to the continual growth of the customer base. Operations started in the old feed mill with Tim and 1 full time employee. We had very limited storage of any products in those days.
The first phase of grain handling and storage was erected in 1992. Additions to storage and drying capacity have been implemented several times since then, and now Lime Ridge Ag has over three hundred thousand bushel grain storage capacity. Lime Ridge Ag has been a State Approved Grain Warehouse and Grain Dealer since the mid 90’s. Grain drying and storage was added primarily to accommodate the need for incorporating customer grown grains into diets for their livestock. Our customers can use their corn for calf or heifer feeds; as an extender to their home stored corn; a way to reduce mold and yeast from some high moisture situations, or for custom beef or swine diets. Lime Ridge Ag maintains the use of a hammer-mill for extremely fine processing of dry corn for dairy cows. Additionally, in the Spring of 2017, we will add a three-pair high roller mill for super-fine and more consistent grain processing. As corn breeders continue to increase grain integrity, proper destruction of dry corn will be required to maintain and improve animal performance.
In 1994, Tim decided a move toward more ingredient selection and volume would give Lime Ridge Ag an opportunity for growth as a feed supplier. A commodity shed was constructed (in 1994) with a capacity of about 300 tons of feed ingredients. It proved to be a good investment. The 1994 facility, with some additions and improvements, now holds almost 600 tons of feed ingredients with a much wider selection. This facility, very economically constructed, has allowed for one man to blend bulk feeds much faster than we had in the past. However, as we continue to grow, we see the bottlenecks forming.
Big Gain Feeds from Mankato, Minnesota and Lodi, Wisconsin is the primary commercial feed supplier having been in house since 1996. Big Gain is an appreciated source of nutritional services and representatives for nutrition; high quality pelleted or commercial livestock feeds; and a large network of livestock producers to share in production and marketing opportunities. There are several other vendors to Lime Ridge Ag that provide anything from soymeal to palm oil fats to herbicides to cattle implants.
Over the years we have had some additions to our agronomy programs and some changes. Our most recent change is the addition of Rob See Co. They are a fast growing regional seed supplier out of Nebraska. Rob Robinson, CEO of Rob See Co, brings a fresh approach to Commercial Seed sales by keeping the focus on the customer’s needs above the bottom line profit. It is refreshing to work with his group of representatives, and I look forward to seeing this relationship in a few more years. In 2014 and 2015 we added two 90’ Case IH sprayers to the list of services offered by LRAS. Our first year we covered about 3500 acres and last year we were just over 8000 acres sprayed. Call us anytime for your seed and custom application needs.
Revenues have grown at a steady pace of about 10% over the past 30 years. In the fall of 2013, a comprehensive 3 year business plan had been introduced and implemented. The plan would focus on growth through relationships with co-workers and our customers. A major component of the 3 year plan was to add on to the office and show room areas and improve areas for employees. We entered that first area in September of 2014. A second commitment Tim made was to improve the working conditions of the employees by constructing a new mill. In the Spring of 2017 we will be entering the newly constructed mill. A few featured improvements will be a reduction of dust in the worker areas by more than 75%, a much safer and more efficient environment, and the bringing of all employees to one building to better serve the needs of our customer base. We look forward to an open house sometime in the summer of 2017.
Lime Ridge Ag has a seasoned group of employees with several over 20 years of service each and several more with over 10 years of service each. Currently 15 people work full time and 2-3 part time at either the Lime Ridge or Blue River locations.
In the Spring of 2017, we will be entering a new mill added onto the East end of the Commodity shed. Beyond the improvements listed above, we will reduce several bottlenecks in production; reduce our time to mix feed by more than ½; improve the quality of products by adding cleaning equipment; largely reduce oversight of grain processing; have six load out bins totaling about 100 ton of finished feed; help us to attain FSMA quality assurance programs, and increase our storage capacity by about 725 ton of feed. Manufacturing will be computer aided to help reduce human error in the mixing process. We will be moving away from 100# bags but have the ability to weigh out whatever weight a producer may want in bags if not 50 pounds.