Hay Grinderman LLC celebrated its 40th anniversary Aug. 24 at their operation headquarters in Harper, Kansas. The longstanding hay grinding business, which has customers across southern Kansas, throughout Oklahoma and a small portion of the Texas Panhandle, is employed by many feedlots and cattle operations.
Clint and Patti Eck of Kingman, Kansas, started Hay Grinderman LLC in 1979. They grew the business until Clint’s death in 2014. Patti sold the company to Jeremiah and Hanna Pence of Enid, Oklahoma, in 2015.
“I’ve been really excited to see the growth that Hay Grinderman has had in the four years we’ve owned it and it’s been a really smooth transition,” Pence said.
Under Pence, the business has grown by 25% over the last four years. He says the reliability of the regular route system they have implemented and having three to four newer, dependable grinders have been part of the continued success of Hay Grinderman.
“Hay grinding continues to be a method that cattlemen see greater and greater benefits from each year. Benefits include reducing cost, waste, and labor and an increase in cattle performance,” Pence said.
Part of the expansion has been due to added customers in eastern Oklahoma. Pence says some grinding services have struggled over the years and Hay Grinderman has been able to take on some of their customers. To service the growing customer base, a fourth grinder was added to the company recently.
Pence says his employees, specifically Jeff Heatherman, the operations manager who has been with the company for 15 years, and Jeremiah “Gonzo” Gonzalez, an operator and 10-year veteran of the company, have been crucial to Hay Grinderman’s resilience.
“We have really faithful employees that have been with Hay Grinderman for a long time and have really dedicated themselves to providing service to our customers,” Pence said.
Pence says part of the anniversary celebration was honoring the employees as well as the customers who have continued to use Hay Grinderman all these years. Several individuals spoke at the occasion, including producer Benji White, nutritionist Levi MacBeth, Buffalo Feeders Manager Tom Fanning, and founder of Hay Grinderman, Patti Eck. Pence says the Ecks have encouraged him and his family significantly as they became the new owners of the business. Pence looks forward to many more years serving Hay Grinderman customers.
“Our goal is dependable customer service as we ‘help cattlemen with the daily grind.’ If we need to add new equipment or employees to assist our customers, that’s certainly what we’ll do.”
Lacey Newlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.