Ron Kenyon, Sparland, talks with Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids, at an open house on Feb. 1 in El Paso, Ill. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Carrie Muehling
EL PASO – A public open house Feb. 1 at Beck’s Hybrids in El Paso gave area farmers an opportunity to see the company’s vision for the future of that facility.
Beck’s Hybrids purchased the former Pfister Hybrids facility from the Pfister family in 2011. The company’s roots are in Indiana, but Illinois is its fastest growing area.
“We’re selling about two-thirds of the seed in Illinois already that we totally sell in Indiana, so we needed a facility to better serve our customers here, particularly in the northern two-thirds of Illinois,” said Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids.
The company is now in the process of making the El Paso, Ill. location very similar to the Beck’s Hybrids headquarters at Atlanta, Ind.
“We call it the Beck’s experience. We want to be able to do everything here, literally, that we do for our customers there,” said Beck.
That will include seed distribution and agronomic services. Over next 18 months the company will remodel the processing tower to triple the capacity. They will add the capability to blend refuge in the bag products. They will also add soybeans, which were not handled at this location before.
“Basically, we’re just making it a hub for this part of the world,” said Beck, who appreciates the hospitality of the people in the area. “It’s a wonderful town to be in, and we’ve been really welcomed and blessed with people that like to have us here and we like to have them there. We’re a family owned business and going to stay that way, so we just want to make this a family experience for the town, for our customers and we’re really excited about the great turnout and the way we’ve been welcomed to this part of [the world],” said Beck.
Beck’s Hybrids has been in Central Illinois for several years with their Practical Farm Research facility at Downs, Ill. They conduct more than 70 studies each year at that location and share that information with farmer customers. They will also conduct research in El Paso, especially on hybrids that are just ready to come on to the market.
Beck said the remodeling of offices and the production and research building is already underway. The processing area will get automatic bagging lines. Shipping docks will remain the same for a few years, but eventually they may expand new shipping docks to the north. They’ll also bring in scales that did not exist there before.The company plans to build 10 new storage bins south of processing tower.
Beck’s also purchased a drying plant and farm formerly owned by the Pfister family northwest of El Paso, where they put up 10 additional storage bins in 2012 and will continue to add equipment and storage. Corn will be stored there and brought into plant for processing.
“Over the next two to three years, you’re just going to see continual growth and continual change,” said Beck. “When a company grows by 20 percent per year more bags that we have to ship out the door – that’s the average for the last 40 years – when you have to deal with 20 percent more bags every year, you’re just always in a growth mode.”
The growth is also bringing jobs to the area as they have already hired about 10 people will add sales and service people and agronomists later. Beck said the farm will be at full scale operation this year the processing facility should be fully operational in 2014.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.