This dealer puts his reputation on the best cattle feed products
Three times a day, Steve Frieler takes a break from his cattle feed deliveries and customer service calls to hop on his home office computer. He goes straight to the same source of information every time – the Chicago Board of Trade – and pours over market fluctuations in the ag market, specifically what speculators say about cattle prices.
It’s called “forward contracting” in Frieler’s world, and it’s just one of the many extra measures he takes to help his customers stay profitable.
“When you buy cattle, you have to look ahead,” he says. “You forward contract your cattle with a packer, and you need to forward price the cattle to protect yourself. People are realizing this more and more, but they don’t always have the time to watch the stocks or the predictions of price. So I just do it for them.”
Frieler has been selling Kent Feeds for two decades – nearly half of the 43 years that he’s been running his family’s feed business. As the owner of Frieler Feeds in Paynesville, Minn., he calls himself “the sales man, the delivery boy, and the bill collector all at once.”
Randy Rosenboom, a commercial account manager for Kent Nutrition Group who has worked with Frieler for 30 years, says: “There is no dealer anywhere that can out-service Steve when it comes to his customers.”
Frieler’s interest in the Chicago Board of Trade took off over the last five to 10 years, when he says changes in the industry were “starting to make the little guy struggle.” He decided to spend more time trying to help his customers protect their investment in cattle and cattle feed products.
“I’ve based my whole lifetime on helping small producers,” he says. “From the feed I sell, to the advice and experience I bring to them, my reputation is at stake.”
Frieler estimates roughly 98 percent of the feed he sells is the Kent Precision Dairy Beef program, which he says has never let him or his customers down. He appreciates that Kent is also a family-owned business with a solid history of delivering quality feed products that take the guesswork out of the work he does.
“There are so many other things producers need to worry about, like how they can be as efficient as possible,” Frieler says. “We need to look at not being wasteful, not overfeeding, keeping good records – as in, you buy a 300-pound steer and sell it at 1400 pounds, but how much did you feed it? With Kent, we don’t have to worry about the efficiency of the feed.”
Frieler Feeds is headquartered from his home in Paynesville, where he walks 75 feet from his front door to his warehouse. He doesn’t have a building in town, and he doesn’t carry a lot of inventory. But he does deliver a lot of feed – between 23 and 27 tons, three times a week. Most of the feed he receives is turned around within 72 hours, he says.
He also keeps roughly 150 calves at a time, selling them at around 400-500 pounds as feeder cattle. His experience raising cattle allows him to better connect with his customer base, because every feed delivery becomes a service call too.
“I have no bad habits like land or farming,” Frieler jokes. “I have cattle. And I serve cattle producers. We trust Kent to get the nutrition part right, and they always do.”
Steve operates Frieler Feeds with his wife, Jane, and son, Jeff. He plans to retire this year, to spend more time with family, take more fishing trips and “get to know my wife again.” Steve and Jane have two sons and six daughters, and a 43-year legacy of exceptional customer service in the feed industry.
Kent Nutrition Group thanks Steve and his family for putting their trust in us all these years!