Business Profile: Deerfield Farms

DEERFIELD, Ohio — Looking back, it may seem surprising to some that the history of Deerfield Farms Service, Inc. dates back to 1959, when it began as a 93-acre corn and hog operation owned by Boyd Wallbrown Jr., and his wife, Joan, at the present site in Deerfield, Ohio.

As Boyd increased his acres, he saw the need and opportunity to sell products and services to area farmers and began to build a retail business. Through Boyd’s perseverance, innovation and willingness to take risks, the business grew into a full-service country elevator, always aimed at meeting farmers’ needs.

Today, Deerfield Farms serves producers throughout northeastern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, in many ways: as a grain elevator, a fertilizer, seed and crop protection products retailer and as a grain-drying, storage, handling and feed equipment supplier.

With a team of 66 full- and part-time employees, Deerfield Farms maintains focus on customer needs and service, which has led to long working relationships with area farmers.

Diversifiication

The company’s grain department offers profit-oriented marketing strategies to area producers, including marketing workshops, target orders and one-on-one marketing assistance.

Deerfield Farms has also teamed up with Diversified Services to offer crop insurance.

Offering five elevators with a total storage capacity of 2.75 million bushels, the company services the entire region with locations in Deerfield and Louisville, Ohio, and New Wilmington, Carlton and Mount Jackson, Pa.

Citing one of her suppliers, Jenifer Weaver, Grain Manager for Deerfield Farms says, “Ag is in.” This catch phrase is most applicable as everyone seems to be scrambling to get involved in this great industry of agriculture, presenting Jenifer and her team with many new opportunities as well as many new challenges.

Changing commodity markets with increased limits on the Chicago Board of Trade have forced many grain companies and end users to back off on forward contracting past the immediate time frame. The Deerfield Farms team has done its best to provide forward contracting and has continued to provide pricing through the 2008 crop year.

Hopes are that increased ethanol production and use will continue to help add value to the region by allowing more outlets, especially for corn. Deerfield Farms’ grain department staff works closely with existing and future plant locations in hopes of creating the opportunity to offer very competitive pricing to the market place.

In addition to grain, Deerfield Farms features a full line of grain storage, drying and handling equipment. Lines for the department include Brock grain bins, feed bins and dryers, Hutchinson augers, DMC stirators and air systems, Baldor motors and Honeyville bucket elevators.

Harvest 2007 was the first year the equipment division offered the Brock Energy Mizer Dryer line, which has farmers very impressed with its fuel efficiency. Equipment division team members can offer Auto CAD layout and design and have many years of equipment installation experience to aid in farm profitability.

Trends of high grain prices and full elevators have led to an on-farm storage boom, which has also led to an increase in business. In response to the demand, Deerfield Farms has added additional installation crews and has purchased a second set of hydraulic jacks to get the bins up in a more timely and efficient manner.

With hopes of further expanding their equipment customer base, Deerfield Farms also bought out Wilclan Farm Systems, Inc. in early 2008, which has proven to be a positive endeavor..

Like others, Dan Zippay, salesperson for the equipment division, also sees the ag industry changing. “Technology in everything that the farmer touches has changed the industry. Planting straight rows is no longer the most important thing a farmer can do,” Zippay said.

A full-service agronomy division is also one more vital piece to the Deerfield Farms Service retail business. The agronomy divisions, in both Deerfield, Ohio, and New Wilmington, Pa., offer a full line of agronomic services that include: custom application, crop protection products, crop consulting and a full line of agricultural seeds and commercial fertilizers.

Dry fertilizer spreader rentals and soil sampling services are also a key part of the services offered to producers. Deerfield Farms’ agronomy division strives to help producers achieve maximum yield levels while at the same time attempting to minimize their input costs.

According to Jeff Bentley, one of Deerfield Farms’ agronomic consultants, “We have definitely entered a new time in the agricultural arena. Biotechnology is moving at an alarming pace as 8 way stacked corn is on the horizon.” Looking back at the 2007 crop year, planting conditions were ideal. Timely planting allowed many area producers to achieve maximum yields and continue to gather more on-farm yield data with the numerous new biotech seed traits on the market today. The DFS agronomy division does the very best to keep producers educated on the latest technologies in the fast-paced ag world. A soggy start to 2008 coupled with record high fertilizer costs has most producers and retailers on the edge of their seats.

The company’s vinyl department offers a full line of maintenance-free quality deck systems, railing and fence. With an in-house router, orders can be customized to suit customer needs and desires.

Deerfield Farms, having been in business for nearly fifty years, is committed to the ag industry. They distinguish themselves in the market place by being a caring team of professionals who seek first to understand the needs of their customers and then provide solutions as top priority. Whether it is a grain contract, equipment purchase, or agronomic decision, the team at Deerfield Farms Service works to form strong ties within the ag community and lasting partnerships amongst their customer base.

Deerfield Farms Service’s main office is located at 9041 state Route 224, just west of the circle in Deerfield, Ohio. For more information, call 330-584-4715 or 800-589-8606 or visit them on the Web at www.deerfieldfarms.com.

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