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Jerry Seuntjens, Iowa

Jerry Seuntjens headshot

Investing in Success

His whole life, Jerry Seuntjens has lived on his northwest Iowa farm, where he currently grows a rotation of corn and soybeans. He first discovered ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer at a farm show and was intrigued by the amount of control it provided with 12-month forward-pricing and purchasing direct. Now that he combined his spreader and on-farm storage, Jerry enjoys the power of controlling his own input costs.

Investing in a Fertilizer Spreader

For Jerry, buying a self-propelled sprayer was the first step in gaining more control over his input program. Once he realized the independence having his own spreader offered, it seemed like a no-brainer to pursue buying fertilizer directly and, later, on-farm storage.

“I bought my self-propelled sprayer years back and I started thinking, well, why would I want to hire someone to spread fertilizer? It’s just as important, and the consequences of not applying it could be several years of problems. Why not purchase my own? It’s not that hard, and I can control what’s going on my farm by doing that,” he says.

Jerry also notes that the type of spreader wanes in importance to the value of owning one.

“You don’t have to buy a self-propelled. There’s pull-type ones that work just as good. There are big ones, small ones. You can have a self-propelled sprayer, or you can have a pull-type sprayer; the end results are the same. You’re controlling it. You’re doing a good job on your ground.”

Taking Advantage of On-farm Storage

Once he had a spreader and an avenue to purchase fertilizer through ADM Farm Direct, Jerry knew on-farm storage seemed like a logical next piece in gaining overall input control.

“So, I looked into fertilizer storage for my farm. [The] first thing I looked at is going with upright bins. And the reason was I went upright bins is, if it didn’t work, I had liquid assets. Someone else could buy it for seed or whatever,” he says.

Looking back, he realizes the bin investment was well worth it.

“I wish I would have put up more now, knowing what I know now; it was a safer bet. I utilize them quite a bit. I prefer upright storage instead of flat storage for my preference for my situation here. It’s just easier to put a conveyor underneath there and load my tender and away we go,” he describes.

And with the ability to lock in fertilizer at market prices up to 12 months in advance, Jerry gained even more freedom in his purchase decisions.

“Having on-farm storage, I don’t get held hostage on the prices. I have it in my bins for my acres. And at combining time, I can sit back and not have to worry about price increase. It’s already locked in, and I’m ready to go for the following year,” he says.

And while having his own storage has proven advantageous, Jerry notes the overall flexibility of ADM Farm Direct for those who don’t.

“Even if you did not have upright or flat storage, you can just go direct. You have a semi come and dump it into the fertilizer spreader and go out and spread it. So, there’s plenty of options,” he says.

ADM Farm Direct also offers customers the option to pick up loads from its terminals when it is convenient for their operations. Some customers who choose not to invest in on-farm storage use their semis to transfer loads directly to their spreader.

Optimizing Acres, Saving Money 

When owning a spreader, direct purchasing and utilizing on-farm storage all came together for Jerry, who, immediately noticed the positive impact on his margins.

“My first go-around buying from ADM was a home run, because I bought it in the summertime and then the prices just skyrocketed. I didn’t go into it thinking I was going to save that much, but I ended up saving quite a bit,” he recalls.

And with greater control and peace of mind on the input side, Jerry feels empowered to focus on the agronomic decisions and details to optimize every acre of his operation.

“I’m spraying my own, planting my own, and fertilizer is just as important — if not more important — than all of them together; so that’s why I feel that’s where it starts is applying my own and making sure it’s done right. And then I can do trials, see what works good on my ground and fine tune it,” Jerry says.

His driving motivation is one shared by most farmers today.I’m always looking for a better way of doing it; trying to get the best ROI I can possibly get on every acre that I have.


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