One long-lasting grower-sales relationship shows the value of trust in partnership.
Chad and Darin Ratermann of Ratermann Brothers’ Grain and Livestock were young when they took over the family farming operation after their dad passed away; Chad was only 24 and Darin was only 18. Their operation is in Bartelso, Illinois, where they grow wheat, corn and soybeans. They also finish hogs and feed Holstein steers for market.
While starting so young was challenging, the support of their friends and neighbors helped them build a strong business. “We had a lot of good people that put trust in us which gave us different opportunities to grow,” says Chad Ratermann. “Early on, Syngenta became one of those partners for us.”
Every day, Syngenta employees work hard to earn the right to call themselves trusted partners, so it isn’t surprising that Craig Abell, national executive agronomist with Syngenta, did just that with the Ratermanns. Abell works closely with the Ratermanns to get them the most out of every acre in their operation.
I’m impressed by how reliable Syngenta’s products and services are. Craig Abell and the dealers always take care of us and get products to us in a timely manner. It’s a good fit for our operation.
Abell and Chad first met at the National Farm Machinery Show where Abell built a management program for the Ratermanns’ operation of crop protection products from Syngenta. “Now, we always use Syngenta’s fungicide and insecticide programs on our soybeans,” Chad says. “I’m impressed by how reliable Syngenta’s products and services are. Craig Abell and the dealers always take care of us and get products to us in a timely manner. It’s a good fit for our operation.”
Chad credits his close partnership with Abell as a key part of his success. “When it’s time to order seeds, he usually rides with me in the combine and we discuss hybrids,” he says. “We speak a couple times a month on different topics in the industry and he’s really helpful with placing the seed orders. He’s just a good person to talk to, and it seems like he’s got a lot of the same interests as we do.”
Chad finds the confidence Syngenta has in their own products reassuring. He participates in the AgriClime™ program, which helps growers offset the risk of bad weather. “That’s telling me that they’re confident enough in their product that they can offer a weather protection program,” he says.
A strong, broad seed portfolio is important for the Ratermanns as they have acres in various counties, each with their own unique challenges. “We cover a pretty wide variety of different soil types, regions and weather patterns in the area we farm in,” Chad says. “We’ve always had very good yield results with Syngenta seeds. I’m not scared to put them up against any other hybrid or any other variety that I plant. I know I’m going to get an equal or better result out of it.”
Chad is most impressed with the performance of Enogen® corn hybrids. He has consistently grown Enogen corn for cattle feed and fuel production. “We put it in our livestock silage and our high-moisture corn for our feeding feedlots,” he says. “Enogen corn gives a better feed efficiency in the cattle.”
Aside from their business relationship, Chad and Abell have developed a solid friendship. This past February at the Syngenta-sponsored Championship Tractor Pull at the National Farm Machinery Show, the Ratermanns competed in the 9,500lb limited pro stock tractor category. With Darin in the driver’s seat of their tractor, Full Boar, the brothers took home first place. Abell insisted on congratulating his friend on the track and helped present the first-place trophy. “That was a moment I’ll never forget, and it meant a lot to us,” Chad says.
Ratermann continues working closely with Abell and trusting Syngenta products. “We gained a real good relationship meeting Craig. I always feel like it’s a good quality product going in the ground.”