Posted 4/15/15 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
When Kent Taylor and his father, Jim, started Taylor Aerial Spraying in 1985, little did Kent know that his small aerial spraying business would grow to be one of the largest independent agricultural retailers in western North Dakota.
“We started out with just one water truck and two Pawnee spray planes,” states Taylor. “McKenzie County was in the middle of a drought and had a grasshopper epidemic. All we did for the first year was spray insecticide on grasshoppers.”
By his second year in business, Taylor and his father realized that their spraying operation could become something bigger. And they decided that in addition to spraying insecticide on grasshoppers, they could use their spray planes to apply herbicides on crops.
And suddenly, Taylor’s business took on a whole new dimension.
“We added ground sprayers, and in 1999, we expanded into the fertilizer business,” states Taylor. “And Taylor Ag Services was born.”
For the past 30 years, Kent Taylor and his staff at Taylor Ag Services, Inc. has been taking care of farmers and ranchers in western and central North Dakota with fertilizer, along with aerial and ground application of herbicides and chemicals.
But as Kent Taylor will admit, there are a lot of changes occurring in the fertilizer business. Small independent dealers, like Taylor Ag Services Inc., are being bought by larger companies. Which is exactly what happened on April 8, when Helena Chemical Company purchased the company.
Helena Chemical Company, which was founded in 1957 in West Helena, Ark., by a ground application company, is based in Collierville, Tenn.
According to Taylor, over the years Helena’s main focus has been the sale of crop protection chemicals, seed, fertilizer and service. In addition to their wholesale distribution stores in North Dakota, Helena in the past few years has acquired independent retail businesses in Sidney and Glasgow, Mont., as well as operations in New England and Jamestown, N.D.
“The volatility in pricing in crop input markets, especially fertilizer, was a consideration in my decision to align with a larger company,” states Taylor. “But the additional resources Helena has to offer will enable us to stay ahead of the game with respect to chemical and fertilizer markets, application technology, equipment and Precision Farming.”
While the ownership of Taylor Ag Services, Inc. is changing, Taylor says that nothing else will change under the new ownership.
“I will be the branch manager for Helena Chemical Company,” states Taylor. “And as such, I will help to pave the way for another 30 years of service and friendship.”
In addition, according to Taylor, all of his staff will remain.
“I am excited to begin the journey with one of the country’s largest distributors of agricultural inputs,” states Taylor. “More importantly, Taylor Ag and Helena share common goals of investing in its people and the desire to provide a service that is second to none.”