In the late 1950s, Harvey Asmus began touting a new way to farm. Chemical weed control was not a foreign concept, but it hadn't been adopted by the masses, many of whom still believed in cultivating the old-fashioned way. Soon enough though, local farmers came around and Asmus' business venture, Asmus Farm Supply, was off and running.
More than a half-century later, Asmus' company still thrives. Proof of the company's health can be found in the Rake, IA business' new 200' x 100' steel building, constructed to house and service a fleet of delivery trucks, semis and other company vehicles. Built by Lembke Construction of Albert Lea, MN, the new structure counts as its features a 32' x 20' Schweiss Doors hydraulic door. Installed on the south endwall, the hydraulic door takes full advantage of the clear opening height of the 24-foot tall building.
This is not the company's first experience with Schweiss. It uses the Fairfax, MN-based manufacturer's bifold doors on buildings at its additional facilities in Estherville and Manly, IA, and Fulda and Okabena, MN. Besides those company-owned locations, Asmus sells its products through independent sales representatives spread throughout Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Asmus grew up on the family farm in north central Rake, where the company still operates today. After serving in the Korean War he attended the University of Minnesota, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. He returned to Rake, began selling chemicals in 1960 and then started selling Pioneer Seed in 1964. His operation was small—run from the kitchen table—but soon grew into a successful business based on building lifelong relationships with customers.
Today, Harvey’s son, Harlan, manages the operation. He joined AFS in 1987 after graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Business Management degree. Harlan held various positions with the company—warehouse assistant, seed salesman, crop consultant, CCA agronomist, purchasing agent and chemical programs administrator on his way to becoming the company president. He currently manages 35 employees.
The Asmus family continues to farm in addition to operating the chemical distribution business. The separate farming business raises corn and soybeans and manages a cow/calf herd. Harlan and his wife, Amy, have two sons and a daughter-in-law employed with AFS. Amy Asmus is very involved and very instrumental in external relations for the company, including speaking at industry events and working in Washington, DC on behalf of the agriculture industry.
“Asmus Farm Supply consists of four departments put together under one umbrella,” says Harlan Asmus. “They are sales of multiple brands of corn and soybean seed, seed treatment, crop protection chemicals and plant nutrition products. We are only liquid plan nutrition, no dry. Our approach to fertilizing crops is that our facilities blend on-the-fly special recipes according to soil tests and what the crop needs for that field, so it’s very specific by fields. We have five blending facilities that do that around the country.”