Valley Implement following steady, controlled path
Valley Implement has about as diverse a customer base as a dealership can get, which can be both good and not so good. On the one hand, the various types of crops and livestock that customers produce insulates the dealership from economic downturns in a given market sector. On the other hand, technicians may be called upon to repair some types of equipment they don’t frequently see.
“We don’t live and die by one commodity,” says Fred Titensor, president of Valley Implement, which sells and services both Case IH and New Holland farm equipment from four locations in southeastern Idaho and northern Utah.
But he adds that technicians still must be trained on a wide variety of equipment, even if they may only rarely see a handful of those machines.
And the census says…
The 2012 Census of Agriculture sheds light on the areas Valley Implement serves. The dealership’s Preston, Idaho, store is located in Franklin County, where the farms averaged 315 acres. About 263,000 of the county’s acres were devoted to farms. The market value of products sold was $106 million – 77 percent of that total came from livestock sales while 23 percent came from crop sales.
Then there’s Valley Implement’s Grace, Idaho, store. It’s located in Caribou County where 395,000 acres were in farms. According to the 2012 census, the average-sized farm was 905 acres. It was directly opposite of Franklin County in that 77 percent of the total market value of products sold involved crops while 23 percent involved livestock.
Meanwhile the dealership’s Logan, Utah, store serves producers in Cache County. More than 268,500 acres of Cache County were in farms each averaging 220 acres, according to the 2012 census. Like Idaho’s Franklin County, livestock made up the greater percentage of value of products sold – 74 percent. Twenty-six percent of the value of products sold comes from crops.
Finally, there’s Box Elder County – home to Valley Implement’s Tremonton, Utah, store. About 1.2 million acres were in farms each averaging 948 acres. The market value of products sold from the county were more evenly split. About 55 percent of the value of products sold came from livestock and 45 percent was generated from crops.
According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the state’s 25,000 farms and ranches produce more than 185 different commodities. Utah also produces a variety of commodities – from grain and hay to tart cherries and peaches to cattle, sheep, hogs and poultry. There are about 18,200 farms in Utah, according to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food 2018 annual report.
Understanding such varied markets is important so Valley Implement hires staff – and particularly salespeople – with experience in or orientation to those markets and product lines, Titensor says. A salesperson with a degree or experience in animal husbandry, for example, serves the dealership’s cow-calf customers.
Valley Implement has 80 employees who receive manufacturer training as well as regularly scheduled in-house training. “The in-house trainer is a corn farmer and product specialist.”
“We look for people who like agriculture and have a passion for it,” Titensor says.
That fits with the company’s mission statement – “We strive to contribute to agriculture and the agricultural way of life by providing professional services to our customers.”
Valley Implement has expanded through the years. In one case, it created a startup and in the two other cases, it purchased dealerships from owners who didn’t have successors.
“We were their exit strategy,” Titensor says.
To help ease the transition, Valley Implement had some of their staff from their existing stores work with the acquired stores for a significant amount of time. This was done in part to help convey to employees Valley Implement’s culture, Titensor says.
A steady, controlled path is what Titensor envisions for the future of Valley Implement.
“We want to keep knowledgeable people who understand the company’s culture as well as agricultural markets,” he says. “We know we’ll have to grow for the manufacturers, but we’ll do it in a way that’s in line for us.”
Valley Implement Profile
Locations: Preston and Grace, Idaho; Logan and Tremonton, Utah
Owners: Sid Titensor, Fred Titensor
President: Fred Titensor
Immediate Past President: Sid Titensor
Major lines: Case IH, New Holland, Kioti and Zimmatic (irrigation equipment)
Keys to Success:
- Closely watching the market
- Making decisions that have a long range 20-year outlook
- Creating a culture with our team where folks can see how we are doing, and can see the numbers on how we are doing
- Making fair and honest decisions that treat our customers and business partners with respect
Article written by Lynn Grooms
LYNN GROOMS is an agricultural journalist living in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.