By M. Burger
For Jeff Norton, Hull, Illinois, farmer, proximity is everything.
“Our philosophy around here is we try to do as much business as close to home, and as close to our back door, as possible,” Norton said. “People from this area understand this area and they know our world. They know our environment and they know our needs.”
This philosophy for Jeff didn’t happen overnight. And at sometimes it was a painful lesson.
“In the past, with the previous seed company that we dealt with, it was not uncommon that we would have a train wreck,” Norton said. “Every year or every other year we would have a disaster with a corn hybrid. It would fall down or have a heat stress factor that the seed company didn’t’ know about.”
“It was a hybrid that they were planting from the East coast to the West coast - from Minnesota to Texas,” he said. “And we’re in such a unique environment that you just can’t plant any corn here. You have to have corn or hybrids or seed bean that are pretty much bred for this kind of environment.”
Then an opportunity presented itself.
“Back in 1996 we had an opportunity to plant some Lewis beans and then we started planting some Lewis corn with the Roundup Ready® trait in it and we loved it,” Norton said. “Their research and their products are suited to this environment.”
“They understand this environment, and boy, we get along just great,” he said. “We haven’t had a train wreck since we started with Lewis. They provide good products. They work every year. We just don’t have big issues. We get good service. They’re right there, only 20 miles away, if we have any issues. For seed deliveries, they’re right here in a heartbeat if I need something at last second.”
Trust in whom your doing business with is also a big part of Norton’s philosophy which has allowed him to work more efficiently on his farm.
“I’ve had to learn to trust Lewis even more with the increased pace of how quickly we get these new hybrids delivered to us and it’s been pretty uncomfortable at times for me to adapt this quickly,” Norton said. “But everything that Lewis has told me in the last 12 to14 years has been right on the money. Over time you learn to trust people, and I trust them completely.”
Norton said that being able to trust Lewis and their recommendations has allowed him to go right into the next step with the new genetics and not ever think twice about it.
“It’s all the little things,” he said. “But, our success story here with them is how much more successful we’ve been since we went to using their products and taking advantage of their genetics and the traits. Our relationship with Lewis equates to fewer mistakes because we’re able to focus on other things which makes us better farmers.”