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In 1954, when Herb Woolsey and his brother, Gerald, launched Woolsey Brothers Farm Supply, their products included animal feed, animal health supplies, pre-fab farm buildings and live chickens.
Few of those original items are prominent in the company’s product line now. But six decades later, Woolsey’s commitment to running an ethical company and treating his customers right hasn’t waivered.
“We want everything we say and do to be good for our customers, our employees, the company and our suppliers,” said Woolsey. “We want every dealing to be fair to all parties. That’s the baseline for how we operate.”
And now, at age 85, Woolsey is still vigorous and very much involved. “The Lord has blessed me with good health, as well as some great employees,” he said. “Plus, I’m still having fun.”
Though Woolsey aims to treat all his employees like family, many of those on the payroll actually are family – including four children, three grandchildren, one nephew and one brother-in-law.
In the beginning, the company endured the lean times with a staff of just three. That has grown to as many as 35 during the busy season. And though many members of the staff have been on board for several decades, some younger staffers have been hired in recent years.
One of the major shifts in the company’s focus came early on – in the fall of 1958 – when the Woolseys shifted to fluid fertilizers.
“We’re a total fluid dealer now,” Woolsey said. “It’s a niche market, but we feel that we have something different to offer.”
To better manage the fluid fertilizer operation, the company built a state-of-the-art plant in 1989. It was hailed as one of the most environmentally friendly plants because of its ability to contain potential spills and to avoid runoff issues.
Today, their main products include those fluid fertilizers, crop protection products, seed and on-farm grain storage bins. They also do a significant amount of custom application of their products. The basic elements included in the fluid fertilizers are lime, potash, phosphorous and nitrogen. Other trace elements are available to address specific needs.
“We strive every day to do the very best job for our customers, whether we’re treating 10 acres, 40 acres or 4,000 acres,” he said. “There should be one level of performance, regardless of the size of the customer. We should do our best for every customer every day.”