Rescue Tube training offered by Rice grain-bin company
By Jennie Zeitler
Leon and Janet Skroch, owners of Complete Grain Systems Inc., received the Minnesota Top Dealer award for 2012 at a recent Grain Systems Inc. (GSI) national dealers meeting. They were also the recipients of a platinum sales award.
GSI is a global manufacturer of grain bins, grain dryers and material handlers, with dealerships located worldwide. Complete Grain Systems has been a certified GSI dealer since 2003.
Leon grew up on a farm east of Rice, and after he and Janet married in 1978, they farmed with his parents. They officially took over the farm in 1983.
“As our farm grew, we needed storage, so we would go to auctions and buy used bins,” said Janet. “We rented bin jacks and moved two bins that way.”
Then the Skrochs were asked to put up a bin for Bob and Donna Esselman of Esselman’s Store in Mayhew Lake.
“We were doing more and more bins every year, so we obtained a dealership,” Janet said.
In 1998, they decided it wasn’t possible to do both cows and bins so the cows were sold. The Skrochs have continued to farm with 1,200 acres of corn. All three of their grown sons have a beef cattle operation on the home farm, plus added acres.
In 1999, they started out as custom bin builders. In 2003, they took over the Esselmans’ bin dealership when Bob died.
“It just snowballed from there,” said Janet. “Our six children helped construct bins during the summer months.”
As the children left for college, the business became their way to earn tuition. All of them have graduated from college and gained work experience elsewhere, and four have returned to work for the company: Dennis, Jeffrey, Joseph and Tamara.
“We enjoy the dynamic of having a family-owned and operated business where each child brings an area of expertise to the business,” Janet said.
As the children left, there was a need to hire crew members from outside.
“Much of the construction crew is comprised now of high school and college students, many of whom return numerous summers,” said Janet. “This highly-efficient team is well-known throughout the industry.”
“GSI has even sent out their engineers to follow our crew for insight, observing specific techniques that have been perfected in construction,” she said.
Complete Grain Systems works with their customers from start to finish, whether the project is to make an existing system more economical and efficient, or to create a system from nothing that can be added onto as the farm operation grows.
The company has built systems across the Midwest, working with customers owning anywhere from 40 acres to 35,000 acres. Complete Grain Systems carries a full line of grain storage, conditioning, and handling products. They have completed projects not only for corn, but also for wheat, flax, canola, edible beans, sunflowers, rye, oats, barley and grass seed.
Every year, the news contains at least one story of someone who has been trapped inside a grain bin. The Skrochs offer a product called a Rescue Tube that saves lives in these instances.
“There are deaths every year when people are trapped in bins,” Janet said. “GSI has offered the Rescue Tube for four – fiveyears.”
Complete Grain Systems is available to sponsor trainings in how to use the tube. The company brings in a mock bin, with Complete Grain Systems supplying the corn. The bin is filled and firefighters and rescue personnel can crawl in and experience what it feels like to be stuck in a bin.
“We sponsored a training session that included firefighters from Rice, Royalton, Sauk Rapids, Foley and Pierz,” said Janet. “They were taught how the rescue tube goes together and how it makes a cocoon around the trapped person. There is one – two hours of classroom training before the hands-on session.”
Complete Grain Systems plans to sponsor a training in Lake Henry this year.
Leon and Janet attribute much of their success to their personal knowledge of the farming industry and ability to truly connect with their customers.
“We feel honored to have the ability to positively influence the farming community,” said Janet.
For more information call (320) 393-2639.