Owner, Ralph’s Feed – South Dakota
Robert Korn’s father started a feed dealership 43 years ago from the garage of their family home, where his first load of feed was delivered. He was so proud of the business that he put his name on it: Ralph’s Feed, Inc., which Robert now owns and operates along with his wife and two grown sons.
“It’s completely family-run,” says Korn, who has worked at Ralph’s since high school, taking his only break to major in Business at Dakota State College in Madison, South Dakota. “My dad put his name on it and his life into it.”
The dealership has sold Kent Feeds for the past 39 years and is part of “the best dealer network in the feed industry,” according to Beef Product Manager Teri Walsh of Kent Nutrition Group (KNG).
“Robert’s passion for his customers, and the feed industry, is obvious within a few minutes of talking with him,” Walsh says. “It’s that passion that contributes to the success of any dealer, and the same passion that Kent delivers with every load of product.”
Korn doesn’t take credit for Ralph Feed’s success. It’s customer loyalty to the Kent products that has allowed his family to build strong relationships over the years – connections that continue to help the business grow. And it doesn’t hurt that Kent is “a very hands-on company” that does its best to help dealers stay competitive too, he says.
“Customers want to be caught up with the latest information in the industry, and get good service at a fair price,” Korn says. “It’s pretty simple.”
James Grothe, who works with Korn as Kent’s territory sales manager in South Dakota, says Ralph’s is well-known for the priority it places on service – from getting the feed to the client to helping them with bigger-picture goals. Grothe and Korn often work together on sales calls, formulating rations, and talking to customers about various Kent products.
“Robert wants to see them succeed and be profitable and he works very hard at that,” Grothe says. “He’s helped many young farmers get started and grow into animal agriculture. He works very hard to support the community.”
Korn’s wife, Cheryl, is the bookkeeper at Ralph’s Feed, and his sons, Aaron and Josh, are active in managing the dealership with him. Eventually they will take over the business, just as Korn did after his father passed away, he says.
“At least I hope they do,” Korn says with a chuckle. “That’s the plan.”
Robert lives with his wife, Cheryl, in Freeman, South Dakota, where he was born and raised. He enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his sons and two young grandchildren.