Putting the Ag in Yaggie
How Red River Ag became the rising stock in Local Agriculture
Featured in Future Farmer Magazine
A Family Legacy of Farming
The story of Red River Ag doesn’t begin with Aaron and Alex Yaggie, but rather leads into their story today. Red River Ag is generations of their family working together and of supporting the community through hard work and having a vision for future farmers. But to get to where they are now, we need to understand where they came from.
The family legacy first begins with the boys’ great-great-grandfather Otto, who homesteaded land in yankton, SD. From that their great-grandfather Leo moved to Breckenridge in the late 1930’s to initially clean up a section of land and then move back. he realized how great and fertile the Red River Valley land was and decided to stay and continue farming it. He was a visionary that really laid the groundwork for the Yaggie’s continued family success.
Leo went on to co-found Minn-Dak Beet Growers. He bought the seventh Steiger tractor ever produced because he saw the value in innovation. In the 1970’s, Leo saw a great opportunity to expand into Norther Minnesota. Leo’s sons Don and Richard jumped on board with the idea. Don’s son, Kevin, was the oldest grandson in the family so he was entrusted to oversee the norther operation at the age of 19. Eventually rooting down in Brooks, MN, he grew the farm with his brothers, eventually leading to his sons returning home over the last decade to continue what Leo’s vision had started.
For the Yaggies, the core of their foundation as a family has always been working together. While there are more Yaggie farms today actively farming with three generations, they all still work together on multiple levels, which leads us to Aaron and Alex’s story.
A Tale of Two Boys
Although Alex and Aaron were pursuing other derections in life after obtaining degrees at NDSU, with the oil boom in full swing and the family farm losing key hired hands, Aaron and Alex ultimately chose to return home and support the family legacy – which proved to be far more fruitful than they could’ve anticipated.
“When we first came home, my dad had us do everything,” Aaron said. “He though it was really important [for us] to learn every facet of the operation, which has been incredibly valuable to understanding farming.” Over time, both Aaron and Alex have grown into very different roles; Aaron is focused on running Red River Ag and Alex is focused on running the farm. The boys are best friends and extremely close with their siblings (Andrew and Brooke) and their strong dedication to each other helps produce the results of a succesful and thriving family farming operation.
"We Are Here to Support You"
Red River Ag has worked with over 300 farmer customers in the last year. A lot of smaller farms have felt overlooked and not getting the support they need, and we really strive to provide high-quality service no matter the size of the farm. Whether someone is stopping in to get help with their deer plots or it’s a 10,000-acre farmer, we are here to support you.
Becoming The Rising Stock
The business was purely run as a local elevator, developed by Kevin and his uncle, Richard Yaggie, since the early 1980’s. Since 2017, Red River Ag has expanded to three locations, acquired 2 area co-ops and is continually rising to the top in the agronomy sector. multiple factors have led to the success, including the unique dynamic(s) of having a young ownership group with consists of their older brother Andrew and cousins (Jordan, Jamer, Connor, Carson) and young employees looking to aggressively learn and grow in the ever-changing agribusiness landscape. Because of this, one of Red River Ag’s biggest advantages is their mobility to try different products and implement various ways to achieve optimal solutions. They first try things on their own personal farms on a small scale. Only when something proves to be beneficial do they promote its value to customers. By implementing this tried-and-true approach, Red River Ag is creating a culture of transparency and building value as a trusted input provider in the communities they serve.
“We just try to find the best formula by seeing what works for us and other farmers, and apply it to our farm on a small scale,” Aaron said. “If something works, we share the data with other growers and help them replicate the results on their farm as well.”
Red River Ag’s culture is all about teamwork – a lot of teamwork. They’re all striving for the same number-one goal, which is to help the farmer, whether it’s through sales, service or helping in agronomy-related tasks. All of the family business members and employees have different backgrounds that complement the business core principals. “I always like to look at how we are diversified as a team of agronomists and owners and all the different daily tasks we can accomplish together. From soil analysis and crop input recommendations, to grain merchandising and logistics,” Alex said. “It’s kind of like a football team; all the pieces come together as a whole and we work really well together.
When it comes to supplying farmers’ needs, Red River Ag’s ability to be involved with the Hefty Seed Company organization has been extremely key to their overall success and equips them to better serve the farming community. One of the ways they set themselves apart is through the data tools and technology that Hefty Seed Company provides. “They [Hefty] genuinely care about us and our customers and will always make time to help us be more successful,” Aaron said. “We’ve learned so much from all the education and tools they have available and strive to get that information to producers to make informed decisions.”
Seeing real, measurable data is how Red River Ag chooses to lead their clients in the right direction. That’s what makes these guys the rising stock of the local ag industry. They dig deep into the fine details; they do the heavy lifting so you as the farmer don’t have to. By going the extra mile and providing farmers with transparent data, Red River Ag isn’t just setting the trend, they’re raising the bar in the agribusiness industry.
Tell them what goals are and they will help make them happen. They help you find the best path to success – and together, they will grow with you. Some call it reverse engineering – they just call it standard practice. And they aren’t just equipped with the tools, they have the resources and efficiencies in place to serve a wider area without breaking a sweat. “We can encompass your entire farming operation,” Alex said. With a team of 13 across their multiple locations, Red River Ag strives to offer the same stream-lined solutions regardless of location or area.
Farmer customers can also be confident in the relationship they build with Red River Ag, who pride themselves in confidentiality and trust. They respect the privacy of their customers and don’t sell or share data or information to other farmers. Red River Ag sets the standard here, and their customer retention rate shows it. As customers develop a taste of the genuine service and care of Re dRiver Ag’s agronomy team, the relationship with the farmer has grown naturally.
4 Things We Are Not
- We never claim to be “know-it-alls” by telling you what’s best for you. You tell us your goal, we provide what you need to reach that goal.
- We do not pressure you by pushing sales. Our goal is customer support and cultivating more opportunities through that, not making a sale.
- We are not looking to sell our customers any specific brand of crop protection products. We only recommend what we thing provides the best value.
- We don’t expect your business but we appreciate the opportunity to earn it. In some places, dealers expect that just because you bought seed from them once, he customer owes them the business and shouldn’t be buying elsewhere. Our approach is to help each farmer find what fits best on their acre for the greatest return on investment.
Success Looking Ahead
Red River Ag has had incredible growth in all areas of business, from seed, chemical, fertilizer and grain. Their largest advancement has come from the fertilizer market. They are constantly tracking the markets and trying to keep their farmers in tune with what’s going on with all the volatility.
Crop protection products have been an extremely beneficial component for Red River Ag as they’ve helped position farmers in getting the best possible prices and procure products early. Embracing technology has also made it possible to get anything delivered directly to a farmer’s door with minimal notice.
Their vision is to embrace change and adapt to the future while never forgetting where they came from or compromising on the traits of hard work, ethics and taking care of their customers like they would their own farm. “We’ve grown so much faster than we though we would and that’s been thanks to our great customers for giving us an opportunity to serve their needs,” Aaron said, “We also have great people who genuinely care and work extremely hard to serve the customers’ needs.”
Looking ahead, Red River Ag is investing even more heavily in technical research. Being a leader in technical research is a great advantage for their customers. They’re dedicated to investing more time and resources to implement solutions for producers to meet their goals. They’re also working on new processes to ensure that as they continue to grow rapidly, that each new client they bring on has a defined process for success. “Our focus has been on economic growth so that we can continue to build higher efficiencies, drive our costs down and save you more money,” Aaron said. “At the end of the day, we are family and farmers first. Our community of farmers i the backbone of who we are, and it is our continual mission to provide loyalty to our customers.”