After mechanization, technology changed ag industry, area business starts third revolution
OLIVIA — Every farmer wants to know what is the one thing that will have the biggest impact on profitability.
“The answer to that is there is no one thing,’’ says Steve O’Neill, founder and president of Corn Capital Innovations in Olivia.
There are many things, and that is why O’Neill launched this fast-growing company, one he believes is part of agriculture’s third revolution.
Mechanization and now technology have revolutionized farming. But the technology that makes possible everything from herbicide-resistant crops to precision application of fertilizer is readily available to all. What differentiates farmers is how they apply modern technology, and how well they integrate marketing, risk management and financial strategies with goals. O’Neill says that’s what the third revolution is about, and what Corn Capital Innovations can offer.
“The key to everything we do is doing the thousand things 1 percent better rather than the one thing 1,000 percent better,’’ he said.
O’Neill grew up on a Renville County corn, soybean and sugar beet farm. He earned degrees in agronomy and agricultural business at North Dakota State University. He worked with chemical companies and R.D. Offutt Company, a large potato growing enterprise based in Fargo, N.D.
He returned home in 2007, opening Corn Capital Genetics to produce corn and soybean seed tailored to the local environment. He had come to realize that yield management strategies are only successful when the quality of all things is controlled.
Now located in the buildings where Trojan Seed was launched west of Olivia, Corn Capital Genetics grew to become Corn Capital Innovations in 2010. Along with producing seeds, it now also offers its customers financial, marketing and risk management services.
O’Neill and his wife, Summer, are part of a seven-person team working directly with a growing list of clients, most of them farming in Renville, Redwood and Kandiyohi counties.
The company helps its clients analyze their operations, and develop the strategies to reach clearly defined goals. Everyone from bankers to seed sales people can influence a farmer’s decisions, noted O’Neill. Corn Capital Innovations helps farmers analyze what fits with their goals, and helps them prioritize.
Mother Nature throws 1,000 variables at farmers every year, O’Neill says.
“We know there are 980 variables we cannot control. But there are 20 we can control,’’ he said.
It starts with setting realistic yield building goals, and taking it step by step as part of a total farm solution.
O’Neill calls it a base hit strategy. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to try and hit a grand slam, but it’s all about hitting base hits and consistency, year in and year out.’’