It’s no secret that the way farmers do business has changed over the decades, thanks in part to technological advances like the invention of the tractor. One crucial component remains unchanged: relationships.

For over 60 years, Chief Agri has been a people-first company and provider of grain storage solutions to farmers. Over the past four decades, Chief Agri has been working with Enzminger Steel, a North Dakota-based grain bin dealer to help farmers with their grain storage needs.

Chief Agri puts people first

“Trust and reliability are built when you have a close personal relationship,” says Ross Carlson, district manager for Chief Agri. “As long as you are consistent with that, you can build upon your past successes with your dealer and with their customer.”

Not only have Chief Agri and Enzminger Steel worked together since the 1980s, Enzminger Steel itself still serves some of the same customers as when they started. For example, the current Sjostrom Elevator site purchased bins from Enzminger Steel in the ’80s. Over the years they have worked together to update the Sjostrom Elevator site. 

Todd Sjostrom said he talked to several different vendors. His final decision was based on Enzminger’s knowledge about grain storage. “I was visiting with Dennis about (the project) and his knowledge of the product was really second to none,” Sjostrom said. 

“He saved me from having a lot of headaches down the road,” Sjostrom added. “There were things I didn’t know I needed, but Dennis was able to explain the differences and why things were necessary. He actually saved me money in the long run.”

Sjostrom needed the project completed by the fall to store sunflower. With the strain on the construction industry since COVID-19, Sjostrom wasn’t sure what to expect. However, he said, “As soon as we were ready, Dennis’ team was there getting the project underway.” 

“A lot of people will tell you they can do something, but being able to do it is a different thing,” Sjostrom said. “They were out there and got the work done when they said they were going to do it. That’s very important to me.” Enzminger was able to get the project finished two weeks early, and Sjostrom was able to use the new grain bins for the fall harvest. “The ability to use that facility when the crop was ready was important,” Sjostrom said. 

Sjostrom also appreciated that Enzminger Steel was local. “Dennis was at the job site several times to make sure everything was being installed properly,” Sjostrom said. “If something did go wrong, Dennis was right there in town. It sort of sounds cliche, but they’re big-ticket items for me.”

“It is so humbling when they put trust in you,” says Dennis Enzminger, president of Enzminger Steel. “They know that you’re going to be fair with them, so they don’t even have to shop around.”

Not only is it humbling for Enzminger to have that trust with his customers, but others notice those strong relationships. At one recent visit to another long-time customer, a neighbor approached Enzminger about a new purchase. Enzminger has worked with this customer through multiple generations and most recently started on a second-generation project together.

The way Chief Agri supports its dealers is paramount to Enzminger Steel’s success. Enzminger likes that he can call Carlson with any questions or concerns. “There are always things that come up that you don’t know, and Ross is always just a call or text away. Chief Agri understands the competition better, and they have answers. It is great to have strong support and knowledge from Chief. That can change everything in a sale,” Enzminger says. 

Cultivating success begins with people helping people

Even when Carlson isn’t immediately available, Enzminger has access to dedicated Chief Agri staff who can provide the support he needs. “You have a specific person who is there to help you,” says Enzminger. 

Carlson adds that this level of support from the entire team helps Chief Agri’s clients succeed, which reinforces those long-term relationships and elevates all the partners. “Every department has accountability to our dealers,” says Carlson.

Chief Agri works to get dealers the answers they need faster than anybody else. Carlson, like every Chief Agri District Manager, meets with his dealers face-to-face and will visit customers with the dealer to discuss projects and what goals the farmer has in the short- and long-term. 

Enzminger says he’s handing over the company to a longtime associate, but the strong relationship between Chief Agri and Enzminger Steel will continue to benefit customers for years to come. “They’ve been connected to our family since the business started.”

Chief Agri celebrates doing business for more than 60 years

Chief prides itself in designing equipment and building loyal relationships that last.

”Chief Agri’s people-first culture is the bedrock of our success,” said Mark Kjar, president and general manager of Chief Agri.

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Sponsored content by Amy Carpenter-Driscoll, Brand Ave. Studios contributing writer