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Home: Friends of the Family Farm: Spotlight: Brandt

BRANDT: Focusing on Grower Needs

BRANDT, formerly known as Monterey AgResources in Fresno, has provided Central Valley agriculture with plant nutritional products since 1963. The company produces specialty formulations that are specific to individual plants' needs.

Brandt Consolidated, Inc. acquired Monterey Ag in 2013. Even through the acquisition, the company has remained focused on supporting the local agriculture industry.

"Ag is a local business and we are committed to local partnerships. The work that Fresno County Farm Bureau does, for example, is world class and the partnership with Valley's Gold on ValleyPBS helps create a voice for the industry," said Karl Barnhart, director of marketing for the BRANDT global organization. "It is a natural fit for BRANDT to be a part of that local organization in some way."

BRANDT was established in 1953 by the Brandt family in Pleasant Plains, Ill. The company sells products in 48 U.S. states and in 46 countries, from manufacturing facilities in Pleasant Plains; Fresno, Calif.; Avon Park, Fla.; and now Londrina, Brazil. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Ill., with 25 retail locations in central Illinois. The Fresno location manufactures products that are primarily sold on the West Coast, but can be shipped nationally and internationally.

The local office employs 120 people. BRANDT has over 440 full-time employees across the United States and just fewer than 500 total global employees. Many of the people that are part of BRANDT's sales force work out of their home offices; all products outside of Illinois are sold through local distributors and retailers

According to Barnhart, the goal of BRANDT is for their end customers - the global growers - to make more return of their investment. The company is able to accomplish this by bringing the farmer the latest technology available to make their business more competitive and more efficient.

Barnhart has been the head of BRANDT's marketing department since 2011. He oversees all press communications, the website, advertising, corporate marketing and sponsorships. As BRANDT continues to grow, they have been able to maintain their family-grown roots. Barnhart credits this for the success of the company. This is also one of his reasons that the company is unique. "The people that work at BRANDT are special."

Much of the reason the acquisition of Monterey AgResources has been a success is because former owners John Salmonson and Tommy Thompson operated with a similar business model. "Their company had the same values and environment as BRANDT, so it was the perfect combination," Barnhart said.

Barnhart grew up on a small family farm in Pennsylvania, so agriculture is in his blood. "Once you have dirt under your finger nails, it's hard to get it out."

That same enthusiasm is evident in the company culture at BRANDT. "We are proud to be a part of the agriculture industry's efforts to feed the world. It's a compelling and important mission that we take very seriously. Whether we are helping grow grapes in Fresno, corn in Springfield or oranges in Avon Park, we're always working hard to feed the world."

Going forward, BRANDT will continue to be a significant resource to farmers in the Central Valley and the entire United States. In addition to the Fresno County Farm Bureau, the company has created partnerships with local companies such as ValleyPBS and Gar Tootelian, Inc. and plans to stay engaged in the community.

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Friends of the Family Farm Spotlight Profile: Ag Today, Oct. 15
By: Courtney Sorensen