Pettisville Grain Co.

Sowing success for the future from seeds of the past
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Elizabeth Towne

Pettisville Grain Co. (PGC) has been working with local growers in Ohio since 1903, when the company first incorporated. Roy Nofziger purchased the business in 1947, expanding to three locations before selling the company to his son, Rod Nofziger. Rod ran the business from 1980 until 2003, when he sold PGC to partners Neil Rupp, Jim Rufenacht, Corwin Rufenacht and Terry Rufenacht, who adopted the company’s current moniker.

Neil currently serves as president of the operation; he has been with the business for 42 years, performing nearly every task in the organization. “I started here at 16 years old,” he recounts. “I spent some time at college studying accounting, but they offered me a job here and I came back to work. The Rufenacht brothers and I are equal partners in business and we employ 22 people serving more than 300 growers in our region.”

Today, PGC has facilities in West Unity, Pettisville, as well as Delta, Ohio. The company’s locations serve growers within a 30-mile radius, dealing in commodities, as well as livestock and feed. “Our primary commodities are corn, beans and wheat,” Neil notes. “We raise hogs and cattle and we have two feed mills to supply our livestock, as well as the animals on our customers’ farms.”

High quality products and services

PGC stands apart from other grain elevators and operators through service. Local growers have come to depend on the business for a wide range of agricultural and commodities services to help boost efficiency and bring in top prices for goods. The company offers competitive grain prices to help farmers net better profits when selling the yield of land. To make this service even more cost-efficient, many farmers take advantage of free or low-cost pick up right at the farm. PGC even helps growers build merchandizing strategies.

The company offers online access to streaming market listings. At any time of day, any day of the year, growers can log on and see exactly what the commodities market looks like for the day. This helps growers determine what to sell and when to sell, offering yet another way to increase the return for these agricultural businesses.

For livestock and pets, customers have come to count on PGC’s dedication to quality feed. The business carries several brands of livestock feed and even has a house-brand.

“We mix bulk and bag custom feed for our customers,” Neil notes. “For swine, we have hog grower and finisher. For our dairy customers, we supply 18 percent calf starter, 16 percent calf starter and milk replacer, also many custom mineral mixes. We also carry Kalmbach Feeds products, including Tribute horse feed and High Noon show feeds. For pets, we have Sportmix dog and cat food, as well.”

Still growing

After more than 110 years, PGC continues to serve agricultural customers with a people-first philosophy. The team’s decades of experience have contributed to the company’s impressive longevity, even through tough times for the agricultural industry. Neil gives much of the credit to his team’s willingness to grow and diversify, factors that have kept PGC moving for more than a century.

“When we bought this company, we repaired and improved a lot of the equipment,” says Neil. “We are continually looking for ways to improve and be more efficient. We have made many recent additions to our facilities, including a major expansion to our Delta location. We are redoing the grain elevator there from the ground up, as well as an entire new leg and auger system. We are very modern here and stay on top of technology and market trends.”

Neil is looking ahead to more changes at the business. The market is looking up as the economy improves. The company has experienced some challenges in recent years due to changing regulations; however, the team has been working to move beyond those speed bumps to continue growth. “One of the biggest challenges for us has been Ohio’s commercial activity tax hike, which is based on gross sales,” Neil explains. “We have high sales, but low margins. For grain elevators, this is a huge disadvantage. This is the same for any industry where you have low margins and high sales, such as car dealerships.”

Still, Neil says the grain division is growing. The team is looking to expand that facet of the business in the coming years. The team has seen good progress throughout the slow but steady economic recovery and the future is bright. “We are in a farming community,” Neil adds. “Everybody relies on each other and looks out for each other.” That type of camaraderie can be hard to come by, but in Pettisville, this is the norm. As the company continues on a path of growth, Pettisville Grain Co. is prepared to continue diversifying, meeting the changing needs of regional growers.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
F & M Bank