Two Ag Spectrum Associates Discover Opportunity in a Small Nebraska Town
The small town of Minden, Nebraska, is home to a smattering of restaurants, several town festivals, and rich, tillable acres as far as the eye can see. Production agriculture and the supportive businesses that accompany it to supply equipment, seed, parts, and chemicals dominate the rural town’s industry.
Jeff Pettz, long-time resident of Minden, shares those same rural ties to the community. His contribution as a Maximum Farming System dealer has radiated new light on the traditional agricultural practices and traditions that are typical in a small rural town.
Originally a Kansas resident, Pettz was raised with a passion for agriculture on his family’s Deerfield crop farm. After graduating college during the farm crisis in 1983, Pettz chose to find a career off the farm. His first job led him to Gothenburg, Nebraska where he directed operations as a Territory Manager for LG Seeds. A change in career led Pettz to reside in the town of Minden where he worked for Cargill Seeds. However, not long after his move, Cargill phased out of the seed division. Pettz’s strong passion for agriculture led him to become a John Deere equipment dealer for LandMark Implement.
When the opportunity to become self-employed with Ag Spectrum was presented to him, Pettz weighed the options carefully.
“I first heard about Ag Spectrum from my brother Chris. He had been using the Maximum Farming System for 8 years at that point, but we had never talked about it in detail. When it came time to seriously consider becoming an associate, because he had worked with the company for so long, I leaned on Chris’s opinion quite heavily,” said Pettz on joining Ag Spectrum.
After attending several meetings hosted by Ag Spectrum, Pettz was convinced that this career, selling the Maximum Farming System, was for him. He left the safety of a 13-year career at LandMark Implement and began his career with
“The system approach Ag Spectrum talked about just made sense to me. After hearing the researchers and directors talk about it, I also decided it seemed like the right way farmers should go about caring for their crop,” said Pettz.
Dave Grams, a native of Minden and a close friend of Pettz’s, was intrigued when Pettz changed directions from equipment sales and joined Ag Spectrum. Being a chemical retailer for Midwest Chemical, Grams was looking for a way to differentiate himself from competitors.
“I have known Jeff ever since he moved to Minden 20 years ago. We’re great friends, and we talk a lot. When he mentioned that he was going to be a dealer for Ag Spectrum, I began asking questions. I liked the uniqueness of the Maximum Farming System,” said Grams.
Since both men hailed from a town in Nebraska that is home to fewer than 3,000 people, conversations took place to determine whether having two Ag Spectrum dealers would even be feasible. “I passed Dave’s name along to my Area Manager, Mark Hill, who sat down and talked through the whole process,” said Pettz.
Hill embraced the unique situation with interest. “Originally I had no intention of recruiting two dealers from the same town. When Jeff brought the idea to me and told me about Dave, he had such great things to say about him I decided it couldn’t hurt,” said Hill. The rural area of Minden lends itself to a wide range of agricultural suppliers, many often competitors of each other. It was determined that Grams, with his background in chemical sales, would be a strong fit for Ag Spectrum and the Maximum Farming System. A gentlemen’s agreement was formed, and both Grams and Pettz honor the county line as the determinant of their territories.
“They’ve been friends for a long time which is why this situation is so unique. I don’t know many people who want to be in competition with their friends. They have a good understanding of where Dave travels and Jeff travels. They’ve set up a system and ground rules that has worked extremely well for them,” said Hill.
“Dave handles customers to the east of the line, and I handle customers to the west. Bear in mind, if someone around that line calls one of us, or an interested prospect comes up, we give each other a call and make it work,” said Pettz.
“We’re just getting started, but I can see a strong future for both of us. I hope to create a niche for the System in my area. Right now, I’m working to introduce prospects to the System. It takes several meetings before prospects are on board. It is just a totally different system than what they’ve heard before,” said Grams.
The two are even able to capitalize on having each other in the area. As a chemical salesman, Grams has a network of clients he can call on. The same goes for Pettz’s contacts as a former equipment salesman.
“Dave has chemical customers in my area. He’s constantly telling me I need to talk to this guy, or that so-and-so would be a good prospect to get in touch with. I try to do the same for him,” said Pettz.
As both men work to grow their business in south central Nebraska, both Pettz and Grams focus on educating their customers about the benefits and necessity of using the full System on all of their acres. By providing their current growers with exceptional service, they have a goal of growing the reach of the Maximum Farming System.