Ray Redfern, president and owner of Redfern Farm Services, recently sat down with Redferns.ca to reflect on the early days and to look ahead at what’s to come for the business. This is Part 2 of the two-part series.
Part 2: A look at the present and what’s to come
It’s an ideology Ray Redfern has believed in since he first started Redfern Farm Services back in 1972 – and it’s that cornerstone of beliefs that keep the long-time crop input and ag-retail company viable in today’s ultra-competitive ag industry.
“We work farmer hours. And we don’t take them (growers) for granted,” said the long-time president and owner. “We recognize what they’re (growers) spending per acre. We’re determined to provide real value at Redferns.”
With 11 locations scattered across southwestern Manitoba, the Redferns name has clearly become recognizable, which means they’ve been able to survive many challenges along the way.
“At one time, retailers could be slightly mediocre, and the farming community still supported local business. Now the retailers that aren’t as strong at everything they do are closing everyday,” Redfern explained. “It’s about trying to do the right thing for business everyday, to make sure we’re moving in the right direction. You need to have the right combination of motivated people, the right business plan for your market and customer, and then the right capital. But clearly, our business is agriculture inputs and related services, which is continuing to evolve towards the survival of the fittest, supported by real expertise from our own teams.
“As a locally-owned business, we need to be smarter with ‘real boots on the ground’ offerings that deliver real value to the customer to offset the buying power and the strengths of a larger organization,” Redfern continued.
He says over the years, the Redferns brand has become a part of the fabric of the communities it serves – and it’s that kind of rationale and challenge to get it right that continues to motivate Redfern. He identified the Virden location as a recent effort that included a huge commitment by Redferns.
“We’ve been able to move from a player, who from a crop input component of our business was considered then to be at the sidelines, with growers saying, ‘who is Redferns in Virden?’. Now we’re an accepted and a premier go-to place,” Redfern added. “We’ve supported our team with an enhanced package of tools. Building our business has enabled our team to instill in themselves the confidence they need to deliver real outcomes so that they now can make a real difference for our crop producer partners.”
Redfern believes, moving forward, their teams are certainly up for the challenges of the future.
“Certainly, we need ever-broader skill-sets of folks on our team, along with an ability and commitment to be the best. This will take us into the next generation and we believe we’re on our way,” Redfern said. “In this business that requires a significant amount of capital and infrastructure, there just isn’t room for those that can’t find a way to get a return. But for those that are entrepreneurial in nature – such as farmers and their partner Redferns – together we can build a future for ourselves, and build a potential future for the next generation in rural Manitoba.”
Redfern’s success is based on much more than just product and price. Success is based on earning the support and loyalty of our customers.