Humorous Words of Wisdom at O.H. Kruse

Damian MasonKeynote speaker and comedian, Damian Mason, graced attendees of O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunity event with his quick humor and motivational words.

Chuck has had the chance to speak with Damian before, but wanted to capture the take home message for those not able to hear his inspiring and comical words of wisdom.

“For these people at O.H. Kruse they obviously sell feed who sell it to retail customers. So, what I thought about my whole flight here was what would I want to know, what would I want an outsider to tell me if I was in the business as an independent feed dealer. I want to tell a few stories here today that are about customer service with an ag theme and it’s going to be funny. I’m going to talk about me as a small business person because what I do is sell presentations to corporate events where I can get up, make people laugh and make people think.”

Damian stated that these dealers don’t sell bags of feed, but they sell solutions. They sell piece of mind and many other things that aren’t simply bags of feed.

Being funny is easy for Damian, but being funny isn’t the true purpose of his words. He focuses on how his words can become relevant to each and every audience member. Just because his audience is often those involved in the agriculture community doesn’t mean they all need to hear the same thing.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Damian here: Interview with Damian Mason

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Red Wine & Good Laughs at O.H. Kruse Reception

Nicholas and Cody FloresO.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event finished up with a festive reception and dinner. Nicholas and Cody Flores of Las Flores Winery were honored to provide their vineyards wine for the event. There wine can be ordered online, but their Cabernet is only offered in their tasting rooms.

Not passing up the opportunity to taste wine and grab an interview, Chuck chatted with the husband and wife team while he tried the prized Cabernet. The couple met while attending San Diego State and their passion of drinking wine led into a hobby of making wine and soon a business.

“It’s such a fun business. We really enjoy meeting all the people, socializing and sharing great wine and great laughs. Everyone that drinks wine is pretty much happy. We just love the people. We are growing. We are increasing our volume we produce every year, but we are also expanding into doing a lot of events, anniversaries, weddings. We have done a lot with landscaping our winery and vineyard. Starting this year we are also making a state wine.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Nicholas and Cody here: Interview with Nicholas & Cody Flores

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

A Local Business Supplying Local Feed

Jeff and Jen WiseMeet the Wise family. A family of five who randomly found a demand for a niche market and jumped at the opportunity with O.H. Kruse.

I visited with Jen & Jeff Wise of Wise Acre Feed and Supplies, in Sanger, CA. Jen is a radio personality on KMJ, Fresno, CA. Locals might know her as Jennifer Lipp. In just 10 months, Jen shares how they went from two chickens to 144. After an O.H. Kruse employee heard Jen talking about her chickens on the radio, he asked her to try their feed. She explained how excited she became when she opened the bag and it smelled like real food, not grain. After a month on the feed, the eggs were creamier, the coops smelled less and a hen who never grew feathers, grew them.

Jen and Jeff were hooked on the product, but soon found out that it wasn’t carried by local feed stores. They quickly decided that they needed to open a feed store and provide customers with the same connection to their food as they had found. But the business they opened was unique, they decided that they would exclusively carry O.H. Kruse products.

A local business supplying local feed. Jen says, “I am interested in everything local. I’m interested in what people in the community are doing and I am very interested in finding out how people tick.”

You can find out more about the Wise family and their new business venture on their Facebook page.

You can listen to my interview with Jen and Jeff here: Interview with Jen and Jeff Wise

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

O.H. Kruse Takes Time to Listen

Chad PinterThere is no doubt the Great Opportunities event O.H. Kruse held was customers focused. But it was more than simply honoring customers, it was a chance to listen to their opinions on products and strive to help them overcome their farming challenges.

I caught up with Chad Pinter, CFO, O.H. Kruse, and he shared what it mean’t to put on a customer appreciation event and what feedback they have received from such valued customers.

“It’s a way for us to get close to our customers and understand what challenges they are facing, educate them on the trends in the industry that we see and make sure we have a lot of opportunities to interact with them while charting a path forward that works for both of us.”

Customers were able to share their opinion on what products moved faster than others and why. Employees also got to ask questions about what draws customers to specific products. O.H. Kruse takes pride in the chance to listen to their customers and actually act on the response they receive.

“We have gone through a very challenging time over the last number of years because a lot of our customer base hasn’t been profitable. That’s changing. Feed prices have come off and we are seeing people come back to profits and that’s healthy for everybody. It’s going to take a long time to recover the loses that occurred by our customers, but every step in the right direction is positive.”

You can listen to my interview with Chad here: Interview with Chad Pinter

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

R&D LifeSciences Supplementing O.H. Kruse Feeds

R&D Life SciencesOne of the companies that exhibited at the O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event this week was R&D LifeSciences. I visited with David Zehendner, President/CEO, pictured on right with Michael DuBois.

The mission of R&D LifeSciences is to produce highly specific, proprietary feed ingredients and formulations, while solving producer problems and offering alternatives to increase their bottom line. As a base manufacturer of enzymes and direct fed microbials (DFMs), the ever growing R&D LifeSciences line is manufactured in the United States and offers nutritionists, feed mills and livestock producers a wide variety of feed-enhancement and health products.

David says the company is producing products that O.H. Kruse is now adding to their show feeds. He says that the feed dealers attending the event wanted to know how their product compares to others in the marketplace and how well it performs. He was happy to say that orders were taken!

You can listen to my interview with David here: Interview with David Zehendner

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Selling Value in a Competitive World

Jay Kelley AdayanaHow do you sell value in a competitive world? That’s the question that Jay Kelley, Adayana, answered for attendees at the O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event today. I visited with him and Kevin Hamilton, also with Adayana, during our lunch break to get some of their thoughts on this subject.

One of the things Jay suggests is listening to your customers and to ask them questions. That seems like good advice. It’s about finding what differentiates yourself from your competitors. Kevin says Adayana creates custom training programs for clients like O.H. Kruse and in fact they started out asking questions before creating the presentation here today.

You can listen to my interview with Jay and Kevin here: Interview with Jay Kelley & Kevin Hamilton

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Templeton Feed & Grain Rolls w/Changes

Tom JerminOne of the many dealers attending today’s O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event is Tom Jermin, Templeton Feed & Grain. He’s seen here speaking with Clint Cummings, O.H. Kruse, in the buying showcase.

Templeton Feed & Grain is a real family success story. We’re up to the fourth generation working in the company if you count Tom’s grandson who is only ten years old but comes into the business to help with tickets and change! It’s a great story and I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation.

When it comes to the relationship with O.H. Kruse, Tom says “It’s a really good relationship with everyone pulling together.” One of the areas that has contributed a lot to Tom’s business is the pet food produced by O.H. Kruse in their state of the art facility. He even keeps a poster of the plant in his store above the Kruse dog food to point out exactly where it comes from. He’s seen a lot of changes in the feed industry over the years and he’s no fan of government regulation!

You can listen to my interview with Tom here: Interview with Tom Jermin

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Optimizing Equine Feeding Programs

Dr. Amy GillEquine feed is constantly improving and Dr. Amy Gill is leading the way. She is one of the presenters at the O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event. She’s an equine nutritionist who works between Lexington, KY and Boynton Beach, FL depending on the season. Amy is working with O.H. Kruse on some cutting edge equine feed formulations and was here to talk about them with the feed dealers attending today. She wants people to better understand how to optimize feeding programs and what the contemporary concepts are in feeding horses.

You can listen to my interview with Amy here: Interview with Dr. Amy Gill

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Time for a Root Beer Float

A&W Root Beer FloatThe Root Beer Float Mobile is set up at the O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event. I actually had an orange soda float. Maybe I’ll do root beer later.

The eye catching orange truck is a completely re-built 1947 DIVCO (Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company) milk truck. On hand to make our floats is Jill Cary. Her parents started several A&W stores in the area and now her brother Craig is in the business. He is the one who did the work on this unique promotional vehicle. Jill says they take the truck out to all kinds of events even including a wedding reception. In the truck are all the tools needed to make floats including ice holders and freezers for the ice cream. Mmm, mmm.

You can listen to my interview with Jill here to learn more: Interview with Jill Cary

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

ADM at O.H. Kruse Buying Showcase

ADM at O.H. Kruse EventDuring the O.H. Kruse Grand Opportunities event the company showcases its products in a Buying Showcase. This trade show also includes a number of companies who work with the Kruse as I’ve heard several call it. O.H. Kruse either uses their products or represents them in the western U.S. marketplace.

One of those companies is ADM. I visited with Scott Vetter, District Sales Manager, about participating in today’s event. He says he’s here to talk with O.H. Kruse dealers about their equine and show feed lines. Scott says they want to know what products are available, what the quality is like and what quantities are available. Hear more about ADM in my interview with Scott.

You can listen to my interview with Scott here: Interview with Scott Vetter

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

The O.H. Kruse Family Get Together

O.H. Kruse EventO.H. Kruse Grain & Milling is a family business and Ashli Cole, Marketing/Customer Care Mgr., says that they consider all of their customers part of the Kruse family. I spoke with her at the start of today’s Grand Opportunities event to get a preview of what attendees will find.

During the day we have the Buying Show which is located inside the Heritage Center here at the International Agri-Center. There are also several educational sessions taking place this morning and repeating this afternoon. Then we get social with a banquet featuring Damian Mason.

You can listen to my interview with Ashli here: Interview with Ashli Cole

2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Customer Appreciation with O.H. Kruse

O.H. Kruse Grain & MillingHello and welcome to the 2013 O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling Customer Appreciation Day. There are some “Grand Opportunities” awaiting the attendees today and I’m going to let you know about them throughout the day. This is my second trip to Tulare, CA with O.H. Kruse. We’re located in the International Agri-Center once again.

The O.H. Kruse story is a fascinating family one and today we have some of that family here that could not make it last year. I hope you’ll enjoy the stories as I collect them to share with you.

Everyone loves photos and I’ve got ‘em. During today’s event I’ll be adding photos to this photo album: 2013 O.H. Kruse Photo Album

See you again soon. We’re about to start today’s educational sessions.

Customer Satisfaction with O.H. Kruse

It’s one thing to think you’ve had a successful event. It’s another to hear from your customers that it was a successful event.

At the end of last week’s first ever O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling dealer appreciation day I asked a couple of the attendees what they thought. You can listen to Manuel and Tim, Royal Oaks Feed, who were very enthused and appreciative of the effort that O.H. Kruse put into this educational and entertaining event. They said they’ll be taking back a lot of information they can use. One example they said was how effective the new communication tools have become.

Listen to my interview with Royal Oaks Feed here: Interview with Royal Oaks Feed

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Being Relevant to Your Customers

Is your company still relevant to your customers? Well I hope so. But if you want to delve in to this Ross Shafer can help. Ross was the keynote speaker at the O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling dealer appreciation day. I first met Ross during this year’s Agri-Marketing Conference. He’s a very informative and entertaining speaker. He says the customer will always get what he wants and how he wants it.

Ross told everyone to go mobile or go home. By that he means having a mobile app or a website that is constructed to show and work properly regardless of the device used to look at it. He also talked about relationship factors as in when people like you they give you their money. Ross not only talked about being relevant during his keynote but also conducted a session on “How to Grab Market Share From Your Competitors.”

Listen to my interview with Ross here: Interview with Ross Shafer

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Some O.H. Kruse Memories

When you’ve got a company that is three generations old you can bet there are lots of memories. I captured some of those memories of O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling by talking with Richard Kruse, Kruse Feed & Supply. Richard is pictured on the left with his nephew, Kevin Kruse.

Richard started out working in his father’s business and it is all he’s known his whole life. He says that as a boy he remembers waking up to the sound of a grinder going off at about five in the morning. He says it has been a great ride because of the people they have been associated with and who believed in them. Richard says a key to their success is having a belief in all members of their working “family.” There’s nothing he likes better than seeing his customers grow and prosper because that helps them do the same.

Listen to my interview with Richard here: Interview with Richard Kruse

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

What Advertising Works for Ag Retailers

Want to have a successful ag retail advertising campaign? Let David Stanley, ConvergeMark, give you some ideas. David was one of the presenters at the O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling dealer appreciation day.

David says “You have to realize you can’t be all things to all people. Really figure out who you can serve best and then find out, What are their interests? What motivates them? What causes them to buy? and then when you understand that you can tailor your advertising message to reach what your customer cares about.” He says so many businesses advertise what he calls “chest thumping” ads that are about the business and not what the customer wants. The focus needs to be outward not inward.

Listen to my interview with David here and learn more from him about deciding what advertising options to use: Interview with David Stanley

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

Marketing Ag Retail Online

If you’re in the retail ag business how do you stand out from the crowd, especially when we’re talking about online. Yep. The internet.

That question is one that Terrell Miller, Cattlesoft, Inc. founder, provided answers for during the O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling dealer appreciation day. Terrell conducted two presentations during the day on this subject. The big message is having a presence online and not just a one page website. You need to have information that’s timely and relevant to your customers. Terrell says he’s also been encouraging retailers to provide educational resources online too. We also talked about social media since that ties in to what a retailer is doing online.

Listen to my interview with Terrell here: Interview with Terrell Miller

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

The Namaste Farms Celebrity Shepherdess

ZimmCast 372Ever met a celebrity shepherdess? I have. She’s Natalie Redding, Namaste Farms. We met at the O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling dealer appreciation day.

Here’s Natalie (center) with friends during the Buying Show at the event last week. We talked about what she does and I think you’ll find it very interesting and entertaining. Natalie not only shepherds an “ever growing flock of sheep, goats, chickens, alpacas, Turkeys, Peafowl, horses, cows, llamas, etc…,” but she’s very involved in social media and has her own program on BlogTalkRadio.

Natalie is a big believer in the power of social media and the value it brings to farmers telling their story. She says, “I think it’s our responsibility as farmers. Instead of complaining that there’s a huge base of people who don’t like what we do. I think a lot of them don’t know what we do. And that’s our fault.” So Natalie says farmers have the responsibility to be good human beings and give back to the community so people want to hear what they have to say.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: ZimmCast with Natalie Redding

Other place to find Natalie include Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired. Subscribe so you can listen when and where you want. Just go to our Subscribe page.

O.H. Kruse is a Family Business

When O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling decided to hold a dealer appreciation day they viewed it as an investment in their dealers and their brand name according to Kevin Kruse, President/CEO. He says it is an opportunity to re-present their brand. Kevin spoke to attendees during the evening dinner.

I spoke with Kevin before dinner and asked him what message he wanted to share with the folks attending. He said, “We’re a family business and that they’re part of our family. We really appreciate and are proud to be doing business with these people. It’s a thank you and it’s a discussion of how we can work together to improve both our businesses. That’s the focus.” Kevin also spoke about the challenges in the feed industry and what he sees in the future for the company.

Listen to my interview with Kevin here: Interview with Kevin Kruse

O.H. Kruse Photo Album

O.H. Kruse is Support System for Dealers

Here’s the happy winner of a new iPad courtesy of O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling. He is just one of the door prize winners at the company dealer appreciation day. In fact, there were a lot of winners. If you signed up for the event text messages we were being updated on winners throughout the day. This prize was awarded during the evening meal.

Presenting this prize on the left is Ashli Cole, Marketing & Customer Care Manager. Ashli was part of the staff that worked so hard to make this a special day for customers. She says that the dealer appreciation day is a sort of culmination of a number of changes and efforts within the company during the last year. She says it’s all about being relevant to their customers in the dynamic market that exists right now. Ashli says dealers were shocked when they arrived at the event expecting to receive a hard core sales pitch. Instead they were greeted in a friendly social atmosphere that included excellent meals, educational seminars, product displays and evening entertainment. So new relationships were formed and old ones developed further. Ashli hopes they came away thinking, “That we don’t just sell feed. That we’re a support system for them.”

Listen to my interview with Ashli here: Interview with Ashli Cole

O.H. Kruse Photo Album