Dakota Premium Hay
Harvard Schulz, Managing Board Member
“Work hard, treat people fair and provide top quality equine forage to our customers.” This is the philosophy of Dakota Premium Hay. Dakota Premium Hay takes pride in their work and they also have great satisfaction in their hay quality and their customer service as well. The company was established in the town of Yankton, South Dakota. Dakota Premium Hay now has nearly 100 local producers and distributors in 12 states.
The hay produced by Dakota Premium Hay is used for horses needs. Dakota Premium Hay purchases the hay from local producers and sells to various feed stores on the East coast. The cutting process of the hay is cut into 3'x3'x8' large square bales. Any part of the bale that doesn’t meet the standards is discarded.
The company was started by both stockholders and local farmers that had an idea and a willingness to invest money to start the company. Along with the stockholders, the group applied for and received, a VAPG grant. “We work hard to take care of our customers and we offer top quality products at a fair price.”
How They Got Started
Dakota Premium Hay was started by stockholders and local farmers coming together with an idea. Dakota Premium Hay produces some of the finest hay because of their location in the southeast part of the state because of excellent soil conditions and climate. “We are big enough to take care of all of your hay needs no matter what season and small enough that no one gets lost in the shuffle.”
Challenges Dakota Premium Hay faces are collecting money, purchasing supplies and making sales. Collecting debt from the consumer has been a power struggle within the last few years primarily because of the economy. Deb Kube stated, “Consumers that were paying regularly have even stopped because of the way the economy has been.” The company also sees it as a challenge with everyday purchases for the business such as buying supplies and computers. Even updates throughout the business are a challenge.
Making sales is the last major challenge that the business faces. If hay isn’t produced to correct way, sales aren’t made. Dakota Premium Hay purchases their hay from local producers and then sells it mainly to East coast feed stores. The company finds this as a challenge because they want to make sure the product is produced correctly to sell to the consumer.
Dakota Premium Hay views success as something that makes the company better, whether it’s a small or big success. Because of Dakota Premium Hay’s ability to do thorough inspections, they have confidence to put a quality guarantee on all small square bales. This allows the customer to save time and labor costs. Bales of hay are shrink wrapped and palletized, which allows machines that have forks attached to unload the hay, also saving time.
Deb Kube stated, “We take things in small steps.” They are growing slowly and with a defined strategy in mind. They have also become bigger in their customer area. The company also set several goals to make Dakota Premium Hay have more successful. Future plans are to add additional storage space and put hay scales in.
Dakota Premium Hay’s primary goal is to become a company that is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. After that the company’s goal would then be to hire more staff. Dakota Premium Hay wants to play a bigger role in the economy and add more jobs to the town of Yankton, Sorth Dakota, thereby improving rural development.
Dakota Premium Hay received the VAPG grant in 2003. The grant was used to start up the company and purchase the hay cutter needed.