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Matt Imholte

Matt ImholteFertilizer Independence That Pays Off

Matt Imholte, a large producer who farms near Clear Lake, Iowa, tried out ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer three years ago, and now gets 100% of his potash, urea, and ammonium sulfate from ADM. For Matt, it’s a matter of eliminating some of the costs conventional dealers build into their prices.

“We were just buying it from the co-op, but we were doing all the work,” says Matt. “We were driving to the Twin Cities to pick it up and doing all the handling. So if I’m doing all that, why do I need to spend an extra $5?”

Most of the time, Matt’s savings have been well beyond $5 a ton. Like the time he was able to stock up on urea before a significant hike in price—even though it meant modifying a building for storage.

“A couple years ago, urea went to $800, and we had $300 urea in our shed. Our shed paid for itself really quick.”

Even when the price break is not that dramatic, Matt always finds ADM very competitive. Having to lean on his co-op again recently was a big reminder.

“We needed a little more urea on a certain project that we couldn’t get to earlier, so we had the co-op come do it, and there was a price difference of over $50 per ton higher,” Matt shares. “The co-op needs to run it through their system. They’re handling it left and right, so that’s why there’s that much difference.”

With ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer, Matt has taken advantage of locking in a price on products up to 18 months out.

“We’ve got fall potash that we’ve bought here in March and that’s nice. They don’t require us to do any money down at the time,” Matt relates. And he also appreciates the information ADM provides on better opportunities.

“To help us out, they have a conference call to give us their insights on what they’re seeing in the world market, and that maybe I should be locking in a price on part of my needs. That’s helpful.”

For those who assume that kind of price break means a dock in quality, Matt says his experience is just the opposite.

“It’s a price and quality issue for us,” he adds. “In dealing with ADM, they know they have to keep quality. They don’t go out and buy the cheapest product that they can.”

Matt tries to build extra cost efficiencies into his fertilizer purchases by coordinating pick-up with grain deliveries.

“We try to plan it so that if we’re hauling grain down, we can pick up fertilizer to put in our shed. We sell grain to the Minneapolis ADM, hauling corn or beans down and hauling fertilizer back.”

What would Matt tell other farmers about buying bulk fertilizer directly from an ADM terminal?

“It all comes down to how much work the farmer wants to do,” he says regarding storage and handling. “If they want to pay a little more and stay where they’re at, that’s fine for them. But if they want to put $50 to $100 in their pocket, they have to put in what it takes.”

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