For over half a decade, Bowman Grain Inc. has been serving the community, working with local producers to provide various agricultural services. On October 17, Bowman Grain Inc. hosted an appreciation supper to celebrate 50 years of business.
By Frank Turner
According to Bowman Grain General Manager Robert White, Bowman Grain originally started when a group of seven farming families got together in the late 60’s and purchased a grain elevator on Jan. 1, 1969 from the Osborn-McMillan Elevator Company.
Although Bowman Grain is 50 years old, the grain elevator itself is much older. White estimated that the original grain elevator was built during Bowman’s original settlement in 1907.
“The elevator has gone through many renovations, but the main structure is still being used today as our storage for durum wheat,” said White.
Over the years, Bowman Grain has been handed down from generation to generation through the original farming families.
Today, Bowman Grain is one of the few privately owned elevators in the state of North Dakota.
“There are only four or five privately owned elevators in the state,” he said. “Most large grain terminals are owned by large co-ops and corporations.”
Since its conception, Bowman Grain has held strong through many tumulus times, including rough agriculture and land prices in the 1980’s and local drought in the early 2000’s.
White attributed the business’s long-term, historic success to wise management decision and investments. Even in drought years, Bowman Grain was able to expand. In 70’, Bowman grain bought a peavey grain elevator, which burned down the following year. Despite the set back, Bowman Grain bought a second elevator in 91’ and more recently the Bowman Wool Company for more office space.
“We have always offered good services and good business to customers and that’s what’s kept us going,” he said.
In addition to expanding its base of operations, Bowman Grain also invested into offering customers new services. According to White, the initial purpose of Bowman Grain was to buy and store crops. However, over the years, the business has evolved to offer a wide variety of services, including chemical sales and agronomy. Moving forward, White said that the business plans to continue expanding its range of services into new ranching services and products.
“We are still working on it yet, but we will start supplying more ranch products like grain hopper bins,” he said.
Even the number of employees has expanded through the years. What started as three employees running the elevator quickly grew. Today, the business employs five full-time employees: a manager, a secretary, an agronomist, and two driveway employees.
Overall, White said that business at Bowman Grain has been good and that he expects the next 50 years of business to be as successful as the last.
“I think we will still be around fifty years from now,” he said. “We have a lot of loyal customers who like to do business with us.”