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Brian Darr

Brian DarrQuick Service When You Need it Most

The wet spring of 2019 was challenging for farmers to say the least. With a very short planting window, Brian Darr needed product right away. Usually, he trucked his own bulk fertilizer from an ADM terminal in Cincinnati to his Fresno, Ohio farm. Now he needed some help—and quick.

“We’ve had some short windows to apply fertilizer and this year was terrible,” says Brian. “The way things went, we did quite a bit of liquid nitrogen, which we could put on with the planter. But with only three of us, we couldn’t get everything done plus trucking. So instead of picking it up, we had Beth Smith [at ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer] line up the haulers. She had several working on hauling some up here for us, and it worked out great.”

Brian doesn’t like putting in last-minute requests, but sometimes, he says, farming demands it and service from suppliers simply has to keep up.

“In farming, you’re factoring a lot of things and weather is the biggest one. When things are going good in the field and you run out of product, you better be able to get ahold of your supplier quick,” says Brian. “Just like anybody else, we call on Friday afternoon and want it in two hours. Beth is easy to get ahold of at any time, day or night. She calls back or texts and will do anything to help us. She always does her best to get everything lined up as soon as possible.”

Brian is now in his second year as an ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer customer, buying all his potash, urea, and potash uranium nitrate (“28”) in bulk from ADM. After 20 years of buying from his local co-op, he was skeptical about switching, and asked ADM to run multiple calculations before he pulled the trigger.

“You bet. That’s all we do is crunch numbers,” says Brian. “We’re trying to make a living doing this and it’s tough. I probably talked to Beth 10 times before I bought anything. But it got to the point where we could haul it ourselves and save money buying at a lower cost than getting it from the co-op. Instead of them paying somebody else to haul it, I can go down there and buy it myself and I make that money back in the savings on the fertilizer costs.”

In addition to savings on delivery and buying in bulk, Brian has added to margins by forward pricing several months out.

“We sure do. We lock in how much we want and the price. When we switched over and did a lot of liquid applicating with the planter this spring, we locked in that liquid and put ADM in charge of trucking it up here to us.”

Brian is usually able to apply his fertilizer right off his semis, picking up three or four loads at a time, although occasionally he has used a modified shed with a cement floor. He is looking forward to the new blending service that ADM is phasing in across select terminals, which will allow him even greater application efficiency.

“For us, custom-blended materials will cut down one whole pass. If we put on urea and then we buy granular phosphorus product separately and have to spread that also, that’s two passes,” Brian reasons. “But even now, your prices are more competitive—and that’s what we’re looking at when the grain markets are where they are.”

What would Brian tell other farmers looking to save on their fertilizer costs? Check out the price and especially the service at ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer.

“The people you have making this all happen is the second-biggest reason people will use your service—after price,” Brian says. “And the service has been great.”

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