Community Builder of the Month: Tom Kladar
Tom Kladar has over 30 years in the ag industry. After a long career as an agronomist working in the insurance industry as well as the seed and chemical business, he decided to branch out on his own to start On Point Agronomy LLC based out of Dakota County in Minnesota.
To back up his industry experience, Kladar has a B.S. in Agronomy/Crop Protection and a M.S. in Weed Science. It’s this kind of technical expertise that helps him advise his customers on the best products for their operations.
When he started his agronomy business, he told his wife that he wanted to have fun with it and create lasting relationships with his growers. He realized that building trust with his growers was more important than simply trying to sell them things they don’t need.
“You know with FBN and the choice in generics, it fits perfectly into the model of trust because I can sit down with a guy and say we’ve got three choices here. And here’s the pluses and minuses to those choices. Ultimately, it’s the customer who makes the choice but I’m able to give them alternatives and options. I’ve shown a lot of my guys that they can save money by tank mixing with generics versus buying a premix and still get good results.”
And beyond just saving money, he’s found his growers appreciate the convenience and time saved when they order through FBN.
“Everybody gets what they need delivered right to the farm from FBN and it’s worked out really well. My customers are happy when stuff shows up at the farm and nobody has to run and waste time getting product.“
Kladar says that FBN’s price transparency is a huge deal because it allows his growers to see exactly what they’re paying for with no surprises.
“You have to let your customers know that you have their best interest at heart and that’s what a lot of retail agriculture is missing. Traditional retail agriculture is missing that transparency and that aligns closely with what FBN is doing.
I’ve been around retail agriculture in my insurance business and it’s always been very supply driven. It’s always been the distributor and the manufacturer and the retailer all kind of getting together to maximize their profits. That’s at the detriment of the farmers. It’s refreshing when farmers see that someone is open and transparent.
I love what FBN has done. It’s a great alternative to traditional retail agriculture where everybody’s banding together against the farmer. There is a boots on the ground service component to this business. And if you try to get away from that, I don’t think you’ll have the same level of success. What FBN has done has kept that local flavor to what people still want. They still want somebody they can trust and do business with that they can call at any time of day or night and get a question answered. I think people would rather get their advice from someone that knows what’s going on in their backyard.
I have very positive things to say about this first year of being a community builder and it’s helping us all. I mean it’s a win-win if we do everything right. You guys are selling products at the right price and my customers are buying them at prices that are often better than everywhere else. For me, it’s been a real positive experience.”
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