Northey tours Humboldt business
By KRISS NELSON
HUMBOLDT – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey stopped in Humboldt Wednesday afternoon at Precision Tank and Equipment, wrapping up a two-day, nine-county tour.
“I love seeing the different things happening across Iowa,” Northey said. “A lot of times we see a name on a building and we don’t know what is going on and this allows us to be able to see something that all of us on the farm take for granted. We take for granted that these tanks just show up.”
The Precision Tank and Equipment plant is a 35,000-square-foot facility that manufactures stainless steel and fiberglass tanks for the agricultural industry.
Production of these tanks, Northey said, are beneficial to the ag industry in Iowa as producers’ chemical and fertilizer needs evolve.
“We have a lot of folks using liquid fertilizer, using the starters on their planters,” he said.
Northey said the tour provided him with a new insight on the bulk and delivery tanks the firm manufactures.
“There is certainly a lot more to putting a tank together than most of us think about,” Northey said. “Not only does it have to be able to hold stuff, it has to be strong enough and what goes in to producing a fiberglass tank is absolutely amazing how that all comes together, and to be able to see the technology and thought that goes in to it is really neat.”
Northey credited the manufacturing plant for being such a vital part of our state’s agricultural industry.
“Only the United States, China and Brazil produce more corn than the state of Iowa does. That doesn’t happen because farmers only work alone. They need a tank. They need a sprayer. They need farm equipment. They need seed and fertilizer. If we didn’t have those things we wouldn’t be as productive in agriculture,” he said.
“It takes a network of folks to be innovative and come up with products that make us better and to come up with new ways of doing it and to be able to supply us and these are the kinds of folks that make agriculture successful.”
Ross Kunert, stainless steel foreman, and Doug Hepperle, plant manager, at Precision Tank and Equipment were more than pleased to take time out of their day for Northey’s tour.
“We’re grateful he took time out of his busy schedule to come see us,” Kunert said.
Precision Tank and Equipment can manufacture six to seven stainless steel tanks and two fiberglass tanks weekly. They are available in a variety of sizes, Kunert said. The company’s tanks are mainly used commercially throughout the ag industry, however some larger farming operations use its products for liquid fertilizer and chemical handling.
The company is in its fifth year at the Humboldt location. It employs six full-time workers.
Productivity is high and Kunert and Hepperle expect it to stay that way.
“We have grown every year. We do go up and down, just like the rest of the industry, but we’re seeing more volume of what we have to put out,” Kunert said.
This is true for the size of the tanks as well.
“Tanks are getting larger. People want the larger storage capacities versus a smaller tank,” Kunert said.
Precision Tank and Equipment also offers a repair service for its tanks, either on-site or at the manufacturing plant, Kunert added.
Hepperle said he is pleased to be working for a company like Precision Tank and Equipment.
“They are a great company to work for, very family-oriented and they treat everyone well here,” he said.
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