Creative Stewardship

Mott Grain & Agronomy team

City folks may think there isn’t much to look at during a road trip through North Dakota. But Mott Grain & Agronomy’s Todd Kautzman has been at work to change that. Between the stretches of highway that divide the state’s major cities sit billboards thanking the American farmer — billboards designed and paid for by Mott Grain.

It’s just one of the efforts Kautzman and his company have made to reach out to the community and tell the story of his grower-customers. In the town of Mott, speakers help educate school classes and 4-H  groups on the importance of agriculture and the benefits good ag practices have on society. These speakers are employees of Mott Grain.

The local newspaper displays a “Tip of the Week,” giving the community information on the ag world and the current safety issues people may encounter. These tips are an informational service provided by Mott Grain.

The list doesn’t stop there. Through involvement in community functions, maintaining a clean and safe facility, and involving employees and community, Kautzman’s team won the 2008 National Environmental Respect Award and the respect of their hometown, state, and industry.

Promoting The Industry

“Our main motto is to promote the farmer,” says Kautzman, agronomy manager. “To promote the person that puts food on our table and supports our business. When the rest of the community sees this support and involvement, it sure makes a great impression for Mott Grain & Agronomy.”

When the thought came to him that people need to better realize what the American farmer does for them, Kautzman took action — in a rather big way.

“I called the Newman sign company who does the majority of all billboards in the state and asked them what locations they would have open and what the yearly fee is for a billboard,” says Kautzman. “I had enough funds of my own to get this project started, so I just decided to do it.”
Kautzman contacted some of his grower-customers to pose for the signs, and a local photographer took the pictures and drew up the plans.

“This was just an idea of mine for all people to stop and realize what the American farmer really does for us every time they drive past a billboard,” Kautzman says. “Sometimes ideas work and sometimes they don’t, and you have to be willing to take chances and be creative in your own way. Since these billboards are placed outside of my trade area, on a nearby interstate highway, this has not brought a lot of new business. But it is my way to support agriculture and the U.S. farmer.”

A Creative Business Approach

Advocacy is only one part of Mott’s success. Kautzman has found creative ways to serve his customers and remain environmentally responsible. The seed and chemical storage facility is secured, heated, and all under roof for protection during the winter. Employees are involved in safety training and play a major role in the local volunteer fire department First Responders program. All equipment and materials are clearly labeled. Safe­ty equipment is available and used on a daily basis.

“Protecting my business as well as the safety of others is very important to me and my community,” says Kautzman. “The sooner we can avoid or control an environmental issue, the easier it will be to react and solve.”

One of the challenges for the growers in Kautzman’s area is a lack of hired labor. Most of his customers had cell phones and ATV’s, but did not have any way to move their equipment from one field to the next — a safety hazard for the environment and his customers. To address this, Kautzman had a trailer made which would allow the grower to always have a way to and from the field by hauling his ATV. The trailer has a unique hitch design so it is versatile and can hook up to any type of farm equipment.

“You simply load your ATV onto the trailer and pull it behind your equipment to the field and when you get there you just unhook the trailer and pull it home with the ATV,” says Kautzman. “It’s a much easier and safer way for my customers to transport materials.”

In 2000, Kautzman decided to build an anhydrous ammonia facility to better serve his customers needs. Within weeks of the opening, his team noticed vandals had been stealing the fertilizer. Kautzman and his team immediately responded by calling local law enforcement and installing security cameras at the facility. With the help of the cameras and the security task force, the vandals were caught.

“This made a huge impact on my growers and our local citizens, showing Mott Grain takes safety very seriously,” says Kautzman. “We are committed to keeping our community and children in a safe environment.”

Respecting The Environment

Maintaining a clean facility, focusing on the needs of customers in a way that is environmentally responsible, and being a positive voice for ag are the assets that Mott Grain focuses on.

“I find it hard to believe that anyone involved in the ag industry wouldn’t agree that investing in respecting our environment can be a huge asset to their business, since ag is the future,” says Kautzman. “When everything is said and done, the most important need we have is food and shelter, which comes directly from respecting our environment.”

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

Diversified Agri-Services
StewardshipDiversified Agri-Services Certified In 4R Nutrient Stewardship
August 11, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that Diversified Agri-Services Inc. in McCutchenville, OH, has been added to its growing Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover Crops
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Other Changes
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurface Field Drainage Systems
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
Trending Articles
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More