Case Studies

Derek Krosschell – Chandler Feed

Farming the future of a third-generation feed and grain elevator

On an average-sized farm, a dairy cow can consume up to 120 pounds of feed per day, which allows it to produce up to 80 pounds of milk. Most farms in the Midwest have at least 50 cows, though Derek Krosschell says farms with 1,000 to as many as 5,000 cows are becoming more common as the world’s needs increase.

In short, that’s a lot of feed, and according to Krosschell, that’s where Chandler Feed excels. The feed and grain elevator company has been in his family for three generations, and he’s been leading the charge as its CEO since August 2017.

Derek Krosschell | Chief Executive Officer | Chandler Feed

Derek Krosschell | Chief Executive Officer | Chandler Feed

The Minnesota-based family-owned company offers premium and high-energy grains and other types of feed. It also buys and sells corn, soybeans and oats while storing and providing high quality feed for beef and dairy cows, swine, sheep and poultry across its five locations in the state.

Krosschell says quality is always the company’s focus because it helps farmers produce high quality products. This, in turn, helps the communities that he, his family and Chandler Feed are focused on championing every day.

To accomplish this, they work closely with various companies, including other feed manufacturers. Form-a-Feed, Hubbard, Big Gain, Vita Plus and Ralco work in partnership with Chandler Feed’s sales team, lending their nutrition expertise. These companies supply vitamins and trace minerals that are key to growing livestock and which Chandler Feed integrates into its products.

“We’re a 75-plus-year-old family business with high Christian values,” Krosschell says. “Integrity and supporting each other, our coworkers, clients and surrounding communities is second nature to us.”

Taking the wheel on team member support

Running a family business, Krosschell often gets asked how he manages to work an average of 55 hours with six family members—and still spend time with them on the weekends. For him and his family, the math is simple: Check the egos at the door and keep work stuff at the office and family stuff at home.

“This is precisely why Chandler Feed is a wonderful place for people to work, because we all understand what it’s like to have families at home and obligations we have to them,” he says.

Derek Krosschell | Chief Executive Officer | Chandler Feed

For instance, one day, one of the company’s delivery drivers wanted to attend his daughter’s recital and take her for a celebratory treat afterwards. However, if he completed his entire route, he wouldn’t have finished until 9 p.m., well past her bedtime. Krosschell overheard and jumped in to take over the driver’s route for him.

“It’s not just me—anyone in management would have done the same if they’d been there and overheard the situation,” he says. “We’re a family here, not just those of us related by blood.”

Of course, it would help to have more drivers on the roster as well, so the company is increasing recruitment efforts, especially as Krosschell looks to expand across the state lines. While he and the company don’t have any particular direction in mind at the moment, they are always looking to grow their base and build on what they’ve accomplished, he says.

Planting the seeds for a healthy future

The company is expanding in other ways as well. In March 2020, it added a side business selling seeds through partnerships with Byron Seeds and KingFisher.

Chandler Feed has been working with King Fisher since 2020—the Chandler Feed-King Fisher corn line has won the World Forage Bowl silage for three consecutive years. This year, it also had six of the top 10 corn lines. This line also offers several award-winning alfalfas, grasses, grazing mixes and small grains.

Chandler Feed excels in areas outside of crops, grains and seeds as well. It’s integrating technology, like its free app that helps farmers and other clients connect their operations with their grain facility.

Derek Krosschell | Chief Executive Officer | Chandler Feed

“It provides real-time, actionable information to help our clients who are growers and farmers maximize profits and grow their business,” Krosschell says.

It also helps clients see a location’s cash bids for certain grains and crops, like soybeans, in real time as well as the predicted future prices of grains, feed, livestock and ethanol. Users can also manage current, pending and future contracts on the app.

Chandler Feed had this information available on its website for years but started offering the mobile app in May 2018 for added ease, access and convenience, Krosschell says.

From seeds to feed

With the company playing such a huge role in his life since he was a child, Krosschell continues to help it grow, expand and support the community.

“While we’re always looking to bring in new, skilled talent, we’re also excited about our strides towards automation, so we can expand beyond our 150 miles in the tri-state area,” he says. “Everything we do is so important to the community that we want to continue growing and work with more farmers across the state and, maybe one day, the country.”

People who are excited about the industry are important. In fact, he’s been interested in farming and feed since he was a young child, and not just because it was a family business. He officially started working at Chandler Feed in May 2012, but he says that his heart has been with the company since he was much younger.

Derek Krosschell | Chief Executive Officer | Chandler Feed

“I’ve done almost every job possible at Chandler Feed, including mowing the grass,” he says. “This allows me to understand how every aspect of Chandler Feed works.”

Of course, it helped that he majored in animal science with a business focus at South Dakota State University. He enjoys applying what he learned, as one of his favorite parts of working at the company is figuring out how to constantly improve on how things have been done.

“I love everything I do at Chandler Feed,” Krosschell says. “Seeing our customers succeed and produce a quality product with our products makes me proud of what we do at Chandler Feed every day.”

View this feature in the Terra Firma Vol. II 2023 Edition here.

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