Hay Grinderman, LLC History
by: Patti Eck, Co-Founder of Hay Grinderman and faithful wife to Clint Eck
Shortly after Clint and I married in 1977, we purchased our first hay wagon and began hauling small bales. It was really hard work and it was not easy finding help. So in 1979, we purchased our first hay grinder, the F-900 Farmhand. Our first customer was a feedlot in Stafford County, Kansas. Sometimes Clint had to haul his tractor and then come back to get the hay grinder. We told our customers that it would be worth the trip if they were able to get two to three neighbors to grind. Word of mouth was always our best advertising. Clint then decided he could mount a power unit behind a truck and pull the hay grinder behind it as one unit. We did this until 1993, when we purchased our first Jones Hydro-Fork grinder. Because our customers preferred the output of the Jones grinder better than the Haybuster, we purchased additional Jones grinders as our customer base increased. Since that time, we have owned nine grinders.
Clint always believed that one had to be diversified in order to farm. Hay grinding was our main job during the winter months. We had 300 customers within a 150 mile radius and were blessed to continue grinding for 37 years. Being able to provide customers with quality service within a timely manner is what made us successful as a company. Clint made sure his customers were the first priority. He showed this trait in special ways: by being on-time and by being particular about his equipment. We ground for small and big feed yards, as well as, farms of all sizes. We had excellent hired men: Jeff Heatherman, Will Hartley, and Jeremiah Gonzales (Gonzo). They were all actively involved in operations, farming, grinding, and cattle. Each of them were much appreciated.
In February of 2014, we lost Clint to melanoma cancer. Our three sons and I miss his laughter and presence in our lives. He was a great husband and father to our family. Because our middle son, Darrin, is busy continuing the family business of farming, cattle, and chemical sales, we decided to sell Hay Grinderman. We were so blessed that Jeremiah and Hanna purchased our business which included three grinders, three trucks, and they also employed our three hired men. We feel like they are the perfect fit to keep this company successful. We could not have anyone better than them.
The Next Chapter of Hay Grinderman, LLC
By Jeremiah & Hanna Pence, Owners of Hay Grinderman, LLC
In the summer of 2015, we were presented with the opportunity of purchasing Hay Grinderman from the Eck family. We had witnessed the benefits of using ground hay with our family’s cattle operation. Previously, our family had been customers of Hay Grinderman and we respected the professionalism of the Eck Family. Their work ethic and integrity was unquestioned. When we learned of the opportunity to continue the Eck’s legacy with Hay Grinderman, we were excited, grateful, and humbled. Jeremiah had been custom harvesting for years. The stress and time away from the family was taking a toll. We had been actively searching for a more family-friendly source of income, while continuing in agriculture.
By September 2015, the purchase of Hay Grinderman was complete and the transition had begun. The existing employees chose to continue their commitment to Hay Grinderman. They were and continue to be a valued asset to Hay Grinderman. In addition, Russ Eck and Kecia Holder joined our team. Russ (Clint’s brother) joined us for our first two and a half years of ownership and helped with the transition, scheduling, and maintenance needs. Kecia Holder is our office manager. Since that time, Andy Warner has been added to our team. Andy has been a great fit at Hay Grinderman. All of our employees have shown their willingness to work hard, provide good service, and do their best in all things.
Our employees continue to help meet the needs of our customers. Our customers in return, have been very loyal. The business has continued to steadily grow despite low commodity prices and ever changing weather patterns. We are very grateful to work for the customers we serve. We work for some of the finest cattlemen and women in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas and we look forward to faithfully “Helping Cattlemen with the Daily Grind” for years to come.
The legacy of the Eck family continues. . . “to take care of our customers with excellent service and to be a company of integrity.”