Growing the Family Agriculture Business
Dec 13, 2013
It’s a family business, guided by a simple philosophy: “To offer the highest quality products and services supported by a staff with years of experience in their prospective fields. We are in a competitive business and unless we meet or exceed our clients’ expectations, they have plenty of other options available to them,” said Olen Petznick, vice president of The Northside Hay Company in Laveen, Arizona. “That pretty much sums up our company philosophy: honesty, service and quality,” he added.
Northside Hay specializes in the purchase and sale of all baled products and services that feed the needs of dairies, feedlots, ranchers, stables and horse owners nationwide. The company was started in 1948 by Petznick’s grandfather, Olen Dryer. His father, Earl Petznick Sr. is still involved, although only not on a day-to-day basis. “He has his own schedule, and he comes and goes when he wants to,” joked Petznick.
As Arizona's largest hay broker, the company works with many of the largest and most productive farms in the southwest. The family also owns a number of other companies, including Pinal Feeding Company, one of the largest cattle feeding operations in the southwest; Sacate Pellet Mills, a premium producer of horse and cattle feed; and Red River Cattle Company. Overall, they employ over 150 people in the Valley of the Sun.
Petznick’s grandfather came to the area from Arkansas in the 1930s as part of a highway crew and immediately realized the region’s vast agricultural potential. The company has enjoyed tremendous growth since its founding. Northside Hay Company (formerly Northside Hay Mill & Trading Company) began feeding 200-300 head of cattle, and over the years, that number has grown to over 100,000 head. Sacate Pellet Mills was created in 1985 and has become the Valley’s largest producer of alfalfa horse pellets. They annually produce and distribute over 36,000 tons of product.
The company originally split its lending between Bank of America and a competitor, but in 2011 the company decided to consolidate. “The bank's eyes and ears were wide open when we called and said we need a change,” said Joe Percuoco, CFO of Northside. “We're very pleased with the way things have progressed… and we are very confident in the people we work with at Bank of America.”
The family has a longstanding relationship with Arizona Market President Benito Almanza and uses Merrill Lynch and US Trust services for their financial planning as well. Bank of America has also been supportive of the family’s extensive charity work, including the generous support the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a foundation established by his mother and aunt in memory of Petznick’s grandmother, Snow Dryer.
The level of trust between bank and client is such that, for a time, Northside Hay reduced its financial commitment. “We did this with the knowledge that if we needed to increase our commitment in the future, Bank of America would be available to meet our needs,” said Petznick.
Northside is indeed growing and expanding, looking at the United Arab Emirates and Asian markets. Through that growth, the commitment to providing superior service remains a commitment that extends to Bank of America. “The whole premise behind our business and its ultimate success is surrounding ourselves with knowledgeable, honest people,” said Petznick, “from our relationship with our lender to our employees, our farm contacts, the dairies and livestock owners we are associated with;our family is blessed to have associations with the finest people in the business.”