INTERSTATE GRAIN SERVICE HISTORY
IGS Elevator opened for business on June 8, 1981about a mile south of Center Point, IA. Betty Batcheler with 26 years experience at the former Farmers Elevator company in Alburnett was manager with Craig Batcheler (son) and Richard Meyer as employees. Lloyd Atwater was the first independent trucker.
The elevator was built in 1978 as the Jackel Grain Company. They were open for six months before declaring bankruptcy. The site was empty for eighteen months before Batcheler Enterprizes, Inc made an offer on December 10, 1980 to purchase the seven and quarter acre site from the old Peoples State Bank of Cedar Rapids. This was part of the old Bromwell farm. The warehouse east of the office was a hog barn and the 18000 bushel grain bin were from that era.
The business started with zero customers and during early months found the employees playing a lot of uno, a card game. The first customer, Harold Atwater came in three days after opening. Terry Walker delivered the first load of corn. When Craig dumped it in the pit, it plugged the auger and burnt all the belts off. He had Terry back into the flat storage and dumped him there. The first soybeans were delivered by Woody Wilson and the first oats by Tony Kudnra.
Purina and Custom Blenders were the origional animal feeds handled. We handled Stine soybean seed, and by 1982 also handled Gutwein seed corn and later Davis seed corn. A used five ton straight truck was purchased to deliver bulk feed that was ground and mixed with a portable grinder-mixer. Rick Batcheler (son) shared duties with Craig as delivery driver. A one and half ton pickup was used to pick up bagged feed. When nearby plants closed, the bag feed was delivered and afork lift was purchased to unload.
A direct mail flyer was sent monthly starting in 1981 to area customers offering specials, winning numbers offering prizes and notes about the business. We ceased this type of advertising in 1987 after postage has increased twice relying mostly on word of mouth advertizing by our growing customer base. The first customer dinner was held in the basement of the house located on site. Later dinner meetings were held at sites in Center Point.
A small town elevator, Kramer and Sons notified IGS they were declaring bankruptcy. On Nov. 1, 1982 with their cooperation and the blessing of the state, IGS took over the elevator and grain stored there operating it for five months until a buyer was found. No grain was lost by the area farmers.
Diamond V Mills contacted IGS in the early 1980's to buy two loads of finely ground corn a week. This soon turned into a semi load a day and sometimes two loads a day. IGS purchased a new grinder-mixer that sometimes ran all day. We built a storage bin between the office and the flat storage and purchased a tandem truck. When Steve Batcheler graduated high school, he joined IGS and purchased a semi to haul the ground corn to Diamond V. In the late 80's IGS remodeled the south end of the warehouse building. A 100 HP grinder was installed just for the Diamond V account. The portable grinder-mixer continued to be used for customer deliveries.
In 1985, Rich Bros. Leased a part of our site for a fertilizer operation. We furnished desk room (yellow tape on the floor indicating their office) and handled the billing. They went to full time farming in 1988 and Steve’s dispatcher used the area until he rented his own building.
With the diagnosis in February, 1991 of a brain tumor, Betty, gave Craig a three day crash course in elevator management. She survived to see the ten year mortgage paid off in 1992 but died in September of that year. In the late 90's IGS started computer billing and now uses the computer to pretty much do everything. Laverne Bahnsen joined the staff in mid 1990's bringing many years of valuable feed and elevator experience with him. Laverne retired from IGS in March of 2013. Laverne had missed his first day of work because of an illness and then never missed a day in 19 years. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication to your job. In 1992 we joined forces with Steve Ries and became a Vita Plus feed dealer. With the addition of Steve, IGS and Steve started hosting a yearly Wild Game Feed in 2004 to show appreciation to customers and landowners for letting them hunt on their property throughout the year. This started out with 30 people but by the tenth year anniversary in 2013 it has grown to 180 people with a professional chef doing the cooking.
At the 1996 corporation annual meeting, Craig took over as president of Batcheler Enterprizes, Inc. In 1997, a third leg was erected with a 50,000 bushel bin for beans and several smaller bins for other product making a second dump pit. A second tandem truck was purchased to eliminate the waiting time between deliveries. This became a necessity because we deliver as far as fifty miles from our elevator making a hundred mile round trip. A back-up grinder-mixer was obtained and a roller mill for crack corn. The twenty acres just south of the elevator site was purchased for future development if needed. We wrote our 100,000 counter ticket on August 1, 1998. We added two rooms to the house and remodeled the entrances in 2004 and built a large machine shed to house the tractors, trucks and mixers. A shop was installed so we could work on equipment.
In early 2007, a 200,000 bushel bin was built to come off the third leg for corn storage. It uses a conveyer belt to move the grain overhead from the leg to the bin. It is the largest of all the storage facilities to date .The elevator hasn’t moved but the city has grown till it borders us on three sides. We could easily have been annexed into the city but opted not to at the time. The rock road has been replaced by a seal coated hard surface.
We took on the Nutrena feed line in 2006 and in 2009 dropped the Purina feed line. Vita-plus and Nutrena offer in the field salespeople for technical support and ration recommendations. In May 2011 we started carrying Purina Feeds again, as we had entered into an partnership with B & B feeds out of Jesup Iowa. B & B had a salesperson selling in the Cedar Rapids area and they asked us to warehouse and deliver product for them. In August of 2012 we joined forces again with Steve Ries when we became a Hubbard feed dealer. Steve had just become their Account Manager and we jumped at the chance to work with him again. In 2010 we started carrying Marks Seed Corn and Beans. The corn grinding started to diminish with Diamond V around 2012 when they started using corn by-products in their rations. In 2013, we sold the Diamond V grinder and in early 2015 put in a stationary roller mill to speed up the process of cracking corn.
In 2011-2013 Interstate Grain had a huge makeover, In the fall of 2011 we started the reconstruction of our office and showroom. With the swine feed grindings slowing down and moving to commercial operations, we saw the need for growth on the retail side. We added on 24 ft in length to the south end of the office. Complete with a horse barn and two working horses. A large advertising sign was added to the west side of the flat storage to pull in more customers who were driving by. Shortly later in 2013, we ran out of space again and added another 45x36 building to serve as more showroom and cold storage to keep pallets of feed clean and neat.
As we start 2017 Tom Beatty and James Meyer are doing the outside work and grinding duties. Tom Carman became mill foreman and oversees all of the outside activities as well as maintenance work. Megan Dudley started work June 6, 2011 just as we were entering our 30th year in business. She handles all of our computer needs as well as inside and outside sales. Kayla Hennick joined the team in May of 2016, mainly as outside sales focusing on cattle, as this is a passion of hers. Bob was a gofer from the start and has retired three times but finally called in quits in December of 2014. Steve still delivers feed in two bulk trucks and a flat bed Dodge pickup is used for bag deliveries. Craig is still the office manager and a majority of his time is spent buying and selling grain.
As you can tell by reading this history, things are always changing at IGS and with the people we do business with. We have loss many good and faithful customers, friends and family members through the years due to cancer, accidents and other ailments. The motto of IGS Elevator, "Trade With Confidence" was coined by a customer in 1982 about a year after we opened when he remarked, "I feel like I can trade with confidence here."We hope to keep providing our customers, many 2nd generation, who have become friends, the confidence to continue trading with us.