Located on the edge of Teutopolis, Farmweld is one of the leading hog production manufacturers in the industry.
“We have a system of products for all aspects of a farmer’s needs on the hog farm,” said Aaron Niebrugge, Farmweld’s sales manager.
“We try to provide value through quality products and services and we build to suit.”
At the age of 21, Frank Brummer repaired hog gates and feeders. Three years later, Brummer had an epiphany.
“I remember a lightbulb went on and said, ‘There’s no future in being a repairman. There’s no big future,’” recalled Brummer. “I was saying, ‘I can repair stuff and make a living.’ But I had a two-fold dream. One, I wanted to be able to send my kids to four-year universities.
That’s not something I had the luxury to go to.
“And I wanted to be able to travel the world,” he added. “And to make that happen, at the age of 24, I said, ‘OK, I’m going to build a brand. I’m going to be the next IBM.’
“I read Ray Kroc’s book on McDonald’s and the whole idea of, ‘Do what you do and do it better than anybody else does it.’ I totally bought into that book and I said, ‘I’m going to build the best pig equipment in the world – at 24.’
“And I almost starved for the next 10 years, quite honestly.”
Now at the age of 61, Brummer and the company that he founded, Farmweld, have risen to be one of the leading hog production equipment manufacturers in the industry.
In 1997, the Teutopolis-based company received the Governor’s Export Award and now serves farmers all over the world.
The company recently broke ground for a 10,000-square-foot addition to be located east of the existing hog equipment manufacturer’s operations.
Brummer said the offices will be unlike any in this area in that people will be able to brainstorm on a deck and work in a creative and fun environment.
He said the new space will encourage collaboration and help the company continue to attract and retain “the best and brightest” to work at the business.
The company is also building a 3,000-square-foot area behind the facility to add employee parking and concrete area for truck loading and unloading.
"We will still have trucks coming to the front lot though,” Farmweld Vice President Lori Runde said.
In 2006, Brummer sold Farmweld to Canarm, a company based out of Brockville, Ontario, but he remained as company president. Brummer sold the company so he could start the next chapter of his life. That has included running and biking in competitions worldwide and a leadership role in development of the TREC Trail in the Effingham area.
“Our company is one of caring. We care about our customers from day one. We care about our products and we care about each other,” Runde said. “The company as a whole is built on customer service.”
Farmweld employs about 47 people in its approximately 72,000-square-foot location.
“They work hard and play hard,” Runde said. “Great employees are the reason for our success.”
Niebrugge said that they try to help customers through innovation.
“We come up with products that help with farmer’s production, like the ‘r adjust’ on our feeders,” he said. “It can adjust to any particle size – it looks simple but it’s helpful.”
Kevin Pontious is a lead welder in the Stanley shop who has worked for the company for 11 years. He started on the sander, then became an iron worker, then a painter. Now he is a welder, building stainless-steel feeders. Farmweld paid for his welding school and for his Dale Carnegie classes.
“I started on the bottom,” he said. “There is plenty of room for advancement here and they treat us well.”
According to Niebrugge, Farmweld will build to suit.
“If someone is looking to upgrade or go to a different phase of barn, we can help with that as well,” he said.
The company closely monitors fluctuations in the hog market.
“If it’s doing well, farmers will put more money towards new equipment,” Niebrugge said.