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A Broad Approach to Precision Drives Success for Niche Iowa Dealership

Brokaw Supply grew from precision farming dabblers to industry leaders through innovative sales efforts, dedicated service & progressive solutions for customers.


M OST VAL U ABLE DEALERSHIP 2013 Jack Zemlicka, Technology Editor T

o call Brokaw Supply Compa- ny a “niche” precision farming dealership would almost seem to

stretch the defi nition of the word. After all, the single-store business in Fort Dodge, Iowa, sells and sup- ports six different brands of precision equipment, has developed nearly 100 precision kits, and services a customer base that stretches into Minnesota and Wisconsin. But Brokaw’s General


Craig Harthoorn says the term niche conveys the right message to customers and guides Precision Farming Dealer’s 2013 Most Valuable Dealership’s phi- losophy when it comes to technology. “It’s the only word we can fi nd

that fi ts us the best, and being niche is what we thrive on,” Harthoorn ex- plains. “That’s what our business model is built off of and we’re not a company that comes out of the same box as other dealerships.”

For starters, Brokaw is a shortline

dealer of farm equipment — including Apache sprayers and Blu-Jet strip-till machines — and a relative newcomer to the precision farming fray.

After Gary Nelson and his son, Dave, purchased the then 50-year-old dealership in 2008, they hired Hart- hoorn to run the business and develop a precision platform, now known as the Yield Center.

It started in 2009 when the dealer-

ship hired a former engineer as it’s fi rst precision farming specialist and got a modest start of selling Raven Indus- tries hardware. But it wasn’t until 2011 when the company hired Phil Draude — an ex- perienced precision salesperson and technician — that Brokaw’s precision department began to take off. “When I hired Phil, the goal was for

him to make our Yield Center profi t- able within three years,” Harthoorn says. “He did that in one. His depart- ment has turned our precision opera- tion from being a necessary tool to help us sell equipment to where it is now a successful profi t center.”

Proving Their Worth Brokaw’s precision revenue


more than tripled since 2009, but one of the initial challenges for Draude when he joined the dealership was to grow the line of precision products of- fered and supported by the company. After starting with Raven, Brokaw

added Ag Leader, Precision Planting, CAPSTAN, NORAC and Intuicom precision products. “The challenge of the expansion we’ve had is proving to the suppliers that we can take on their products and move enough volume to be a full deal- er,” Draude says. “There’s still a couple


product lines we’d defi nitely entertain getting if we can get our numbers to where they need to be in order to sup- port that many major brand products. “But now, we have the advantage of going from where we began with Ra- ven, to being able to walk on to any farm and sell or service anything that customer has.” As the precision ag sales manager at Brokaw overseeing a staff of three, Draude says one of the reasons the dealership has been able to rapidly

Supply Company

Founded: 1958. Dave Nelson and his father, Gary, purchased the dealership in 2008 and formally launched a preci- sion farming platform in 2009. Employees: 36

(four precision ag specialists) Precision Lines: Raven, Ag Leader, Precision Planting, CAPSTAN, NORAC, Intuicom Farm Equipment Lines: Blu-Jet, Equipment Technologies, Duo Lift, Montag, Yetter, Ray-Man, Meridian, Force Unlimited, Soil Max Location: Fort Dodge, Iowa

2012 Precision Revenue Breakdown: Hardware: 90%, Service: 5%, Other: 3%, Software: 2%.

2012 Precision Ag Investment Breakdown: Precision Staff: 62%, Marketing: 30%, Training: 8%

2012 Precision Technician Service Hours Billed: 900


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