Southwest Family Farms has visions of growth to meet 50,000 acres
Stan Reiss, of Southwest Family Farms in Kismet, Kansas, stands in front of their 60 ft. x 60 ft. agricultural hangar. It has a 54 ft. x 16 ft. one-piece Schweiss hydraulic door. The door is windrated for 90 mph and has electric photo eye sensors, remote opener and backup system. (Photos courtesy of Chase Memories Photography, Jenny Chase - Photographer)
Plains, Kansas, with a population of about 1,200, is known by Ripley's Believe It or Not for having the widest Main Street in the USA. Today the street, including 12 foot wide sidewalks along the sides, measures 155 feet, 5 inches across, storefront to storefront, nearly a half block wide. When someone asked why they made it so wide, they answered, "There was plenty of no-good ground, so it just as well may be a street."
Well, the Plains, Kansas area also has some good ground. Stan Reiss, a fifth-generation farmer of Southwest Family Farms and other generations before and after him have been living off the land at Kismet, KS, seven miles southwest of Plains for decades.
Stan's great-great grandparents came to the U.S. from Germany, originally farming in Iowa. They made their way to central Kansas and then to Kismet, southwest Kansas in 1914 where they started farming about 320 acres and struggled through the early "Dirty 30s" Dust Bowl days when annual rainfall registered less than 10 inches a year, which it still does occasionally.
The 1979 Cessna 182 Skylane is flown to inspect over 40,000 acres of farmland and sprinkler systems. It has been modified with a Canard wing, 29" bush wheels for landing on fields, and it has a 31 knot stall speed.
The family farm is now run by Stan and his wife Cheri, sons Clint and Brett and their wives, Christina and Sarah, and grandmother Kathryn. During peak planting times they employ an additional four fulltime men and a couple of additional part-timers during harvest. They currently farm in Seward, Morton, and Stanton Counties.
As a family, they farm 7,380 acres of grain crop production in Seward County, just north of the Oklahoma Panhandle, producing corn, soybeans, milo and wheat. Southwest Family Farms tends another 25,000 acres for two other families in a custom-farming business. The family also farms 9,000 acres of ground in Morton and Stanton counties on the Colorado line. Some of this land is owned by Reiss, the rest is rented and/or crop shared from landowners and other farming partnerships.
Southwest Family Farms has a Vision Statement of being a highly-organized, profitable, and respected agricultural business. The family is planning to continue their growth, setting a new goal to manage a total of 50,000 acres in the future.
"We will be the premier agricultural business of choice for landowners, employees, and partners. We will drive growth through innovation," notes their website at southwestff.com
Stan Reiss came to Schweiss Doors after having a bad experience from another door manufacturer who took his downpayment money, but never delivered or gave him his money back. They told Stan after they went back into business that if he were to order new doors in the future they would sell them to him at a reduced rate. He was leery about that offer and stayed away from them altogether.
He is now happy with his 54 ft. x 16 ft. one piece hydraulic Schweiss hangar door which he put on a new 60x60 ft. steel building with 18 ft. sidewalls nearly four years ago. The door is windrated for 90 mph, has electric photo eye sensors and is equipped with an emergency drill-driven backup system and remote opener.
When the hydraulic 16 ft. tall door is open it provides a nice shaded canopy which aids in keeping the building cool.
Stan Reiss got a first-hand introduction to Schweiss Doors after talking to owner Mike Schweiss at the Schweiss booth during the Oshkosh airshow in Wisconsin.
"We had a peer group meeting close to that area. I was touring the grounds and saw Mike standing there and talked to him for a little bit. I'd seen Schweiss doors in magazines and other hangars and noticed they were better built doors," said Stan. "We just wanted a one-piece door. I like the simplicity and strength of the Schweiss hydraulic door, it's very strong. I've had zero issues with it, no leaks, it opens every time, it's a very good door and we're happy with it. We wanted the clearance to be able to put farm equipment in the building too. It also provides a nice shaded canopy; we need that out here."
Ron Eakes, owner of Mid-Plains Construction, Inc. in Plains, whose business name has since been changed to JKL Construction, built the 60 ft. x 60 ft steel building and adjoining 36 ft. x 72 ft business office for Reiss. His crew also installed the hydraulic door.
Eakes said the installation went well and noted the door arrived on time and in good condition and easily unloaded from the truck. He had some experience with Schweiss Doors in the past.
Reiss designed the hangar with a door that would provide enough vertical clearance to use it to store large farm equipment.
"I first worked with a Schweiss bifold cable door on a hangar here in Plains about 20 years ago, my brother also has a Schweiss door. This was our first Schweiss hydraulic door. Originally we were going to go with a different brand door, but that idea went upside down. At that point I told Stan we need to get a Schweiss door and put it on there. The mechanics of the door work very well. It went together well and works fine, I'd recommend them to others," said Eakes.
Stan and his son, Clint, are both pilots and use a 1979 Cessna 182 Skylane to scout their fields.
"It's very beneficial, we irrigate with pivot sprinklers, when I fly over, I can see if any nozzles are plugged and send someone out quickly to clean them. It's been modified, its stall speed is at 31 knots, but when cruising crops we usually fly about 60 to 70 knots. It has a Canard wing on the front of the nose that sticks out a couple of feet on each side. It also has big 29" bush wheels which enable us to land on any field safely," said Stan.
"I like the simplicity and strength of the Schweiss hydraulic door, it's very strong. I've had zero issues with it, no leaks, it opens every time, it's a very good door and we're happy with it. We wanted the clearance to be able to put farm equipment in the building too. It also provides a nice shaded canopy, we need that out here."
- Stan Reiss
Southwest Family Farms, Kismet, KS
Every drop of moisture is important in Southwest Kansas
Parts of Southwest Kansas are known for being extremely hot and dry and they have been experiencing drought conditions for five consecutive years. Even though Plains, KS is said to average 20 inches of rain and 16 inches of snow annually, Stan said they have been getting about 10 to 15 inches of rain more recently. The average temperature for the year in Plains is 55.4°F., about 77 degrees in May, but it has got as hot as 110 degrees in June. Ordinarily these temperatures and rainfall amounts make for good farming country on the farm's silty-loam soils. Just the same, farmers rely on irrigation systems to survive.
Strip-till is another system of conservation tillage they practice. They use a knife to apply fertilizer and create a seedbed. The knife is engaged into the soil about 10" deep and leaves a 6-8" wide strip of soil. They plant right on top of the strip. The fertilizer zone is located just below the roots for efficient nutrient uptake. The residue from the previous crop remains on top of the soil to protect the soil from erosion. The residue acts as a mulch to keep the soil from drying out and blowing.
With just a push of a button, or using the wireless remote opener, the hangar door opens swiftly and quietly.
At SWFF they "No-till" as much as possible and have invested substantial capital in equipment that aids in conserving crop residue and soil moisture. No-till has proven to be beneficial year after year. One example is a wheat header that strips the very top of the wheat plant off, leaving everything standing in the field except the wheat heads. The tall, standing stubble aids in catching snow in the winter and shades the ground from the hot summer sun.
Sustainable Farming is the name of the game
Agricultural technology has advanced at a very rapid pace and it's technology that drives their farming operation. Clint Reiss, son of Stan Reiss is the Chief Financial Officer of Southwest Family Farms. A lot of his time is spent behind a desk. Brett Reiss is Chief Operating Officer for the farm.
Clint expects the farm will grow as long as it is able to deploy cutting-edge technology and sound production practices, always trying to stay a step ahead in the game. He lead an effort to integrate soil tests with GPS mapping technology using a Veris Technologies soil-type and testing system.
Four windows across the middle of the hydraulic door allow natural light inside the building and give the door operator a view to the outside when opening the door.
"When we no-till, the only operations that go across the field are spraying, planting, harvesting. We even try to fertilize, spray, and plant in one single pass to reduce fuel consumption and hours on equipment. To limit our fertilizer usage we have mapped all of our irrigated fields to find the different soil types and their capacity to hold nutrients. We layer these maps with yield maps from our combines to make informed agronomic decisions. We have invested in state of the art equipment that allows us to quickly and efficiently cover acre after acre," noted Reiss.
SWFF started with Variable Rate Technology (VRT) 10 years ago. It has allowed them to maximize their land's potential by placing fertilizer and other chemicals where they are needed. Overall fertilizer consumption has been reduced by using this technology.
Southwest Family Farms prides itself as being good stewards of the land. Their commitment is to remain a sustainable farm, using farming practices that will ensure that generations to come will have sufficient high quality food.
For all of your harvesting, fertilizing, planting and custom farming needs Southwest Family Farms can be reached at (620) 563-7212.
Southwest Family Farms, located seven miles southwest of Plains, Kansas near Kismet, is a five-generation farm. Stan, his two sons, Clint and Brett and their families farm over 40,000 acres of land in southwest Kansas.
JKL Construction, Inc.
JKL Construction, formerly known as Mid Plains Construction of Plains, KS is brainchild of owner, Ron Eakes, and is rated as the most successful construction company in Kansas and has around 70 employees. Since its founding in 1979 it has successfully delivered extensive construction services.
They offer services such as general construction, concrete construction, concrete forming, concrete ready mix sales, curing concrete, concrete install, and advanced concrete construction. to commercial, residential, hog, and dairy clients. Eakes was born in western part of Kansas, which is also called the Sunflower State or Wheat State of the US. He grew up in a farm house along with his 10 siblings.
Eakes also owns three ready mix plants and shares a partnership in two large scale dairies along with running JKL Construction.
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It was a 70 ft. hydraulic door, very lightly built, it came in two sections that didn't meet together when they put it together. It showed up bent, and when raised it would bend, very poor weld quality, with welds missing in places. It was a piece of crap, I've never seen something so poor, there was no engineering done on it. There was no quality control. Read More And See A lot More
RiverEdge Park and Music Garden is a venue that not many people in the United States have heard of yet, but they will. It is becoming the centerpiece in a 10-year master plan for the city of Aurora, Illinois, that state's second largest city with a population of close to 200,000 people, making it the 112th largest city in the United States. Aurora is located about 45 miles west of Chicago and is accessible by commuter train from there. Read More And See A lot More
Since Introducing "Red Power" Hydraulic Doors to the market this Spring, sales of Schweiss Hydraulic Doors have escalated, and as a result truckload-after-truckload of ready to assemble doors have been moving out to destinations within all corners of the United States and other locations around the globe. Read More And See A lot More
This eye catching farm shop is indeed a beautiful facility. All four exterior steel walls are white, however red is the accent color around the edges of this big hydraulic door, all windows in the door, plus other access doors into this incredible building. Read More And See A lot More
Twenty-seven years as an aerial applicator provides an historical perspective each spring for Rich Sigurdson, Olivia, MN. For cantankerous 2011 he simply responded,"This spring brought in a little more work than normal. This is the latest for putting crops in the ground since I've been in the business. Read More And See A lot More
Getting 146 doors installed at one location speaks rather strongly about the quality and reliability of your door provider. But that's the current scorecard of Schweiss BiFold doors at Fort Carson, Colorado (Colorado Springs) where Mortenson Construction (Denver branch) has an ongoing contract with the U.S. Army for the construction of special heated maintenance shops called TEMFs (Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facilities). This means structures big enough for Army tanks and other special military tactical vehicles. Read More And See A lot More
I researched over a year what I wanted to do. I met Dave Schweiss at the Florida 'Fun in the Sun' air show and both Dave and Mike at the big Oshgosh, WS show. After meeting the guys and looking more closely at their product the choice was obvious. It simply was the best fit, the best design, the best door and in terms of value, the best deal. Read More And See A lot More
Here are some shots of Fagen's warbirds. All mighty nice, mint condition airplanes! Just one of many unique planes that will be on display in the New Fagen Museum. It'll be the hot spot in Granite Falls, Minnesota to see some of the most beautiful Flying machines imaginable. Read More And See A lot More
Obviously a guy doesn't spend several thousand dollars for a big hydraulic door because it opens and closes in 37 seconds. But surprisingly 'door speed' is a bit of a factor, at least for Terry Albright, Renville County farmer who also runs a fleet of 'over the road' semi rigs. Read More And See A lot More
A slick, new 75' x 80' farm shop with special lighting, in-floor heating, a huge 40' door and a burgundy and beige color scheme is getting all sorts of attention on the farm of John Dulin, Kenton, Ohio. "The contractor that sold me the building has people coming here every week it seems to check out the building and especially that big hydraulic door. So it's a real treat for me and my farming partner son Dana, to show them the works," explained Dulin, who is also maintenance manager for six school buses in their local special education district. Read More And See A lot More
Two bifold doors were on his Wayzata, Minn. home when he and his wife, Nancy, purchased it from a previous owner several years ago. He referred to the doors as "a bonus and attractive feature" and believed the architect chose the bifold style of doors for aesthetic reasons. Read More And See A lot More
The Carriage House on the lakeshore property of Sid Morris, Cornelius, NC is very likely the most unique in America! It doesn't house horses and horse buggies. It doesn't house antique autos. Instead it houses his R44 helicopter. And that chopper gets to the Carriage House by first landing on a helio pad on the end of his 200' dock. A small electrically driven dolly then gently lifts the chopper with operator then guiding the chopper to its proper stall inside this remarkable 4-star carriage house. Read More And See A lot More
At 27 years of age, film maker/artist/author Travis Wood appears to be adding architectural design to his intriguing resume. Evidence of this new dimension is a most unique structure, a combination studio/guest house that he and his father are constructing on their vacation property on Martha's Vineyard, hugging the south shore of Massachusetts. Read More And See A lot More
Hugging the southwest corner of Long Island, New York, Brooklyn's earlier identity was mostly hitched to Coney Island beach and the Brooklyn Dodgers of baseball immortality. Today the city is enjoying a renaissance of rediscovery by artists, retailers, ambitious contractors and creative landscapers including the Andre Kikoski Architect firm which just wrapped up the complete renovation of two empty, abandoned warehouse buildings on 22-28 Wyckoff Ave. Read More And See A lot More
Consolidation is that aggressive word which has been enveloping agricultural business for several years now. In simple terms, it results in fewer but bigger. And that certainly is the recent history of the farm implement business, which used to pride itself on having eight, 10, even 12 or more dealerships per county. Today three or four farm equipment dealers per county is more the usual. But ownership of farm implement stores today often includes multiple locations throughout an entire state. Read More And See A lot More
Flying since he got the bug when working the fishing canaries in Alaska, Eric Hutchins, Grand Rapids, MN, has a rather diversified agenda these days. For example he runs a year-round Dairy Queen in this bustling tourist center town. He also does some part-time law enforcement work and occasionally flies fire detection with the MN DNR. When time permits, high on his agenda is getting together with his snowmobile buddies for a few miles through the beautiful lake and woodland country of Itasca County. Read More And See A lot More
In September of 2009, we started the rehabilitation of Hanger 155 at Chippewa County International Airport in Kincheloe, MI. Our first step was to remove 60 years worth of lead paint from the existing steel substructure and miles of asbestos-containing material. When the building was safe to work in, our demolition subcontractor started on the roof system. Read More And See A lot More
It's big, 43,500 square feet. It has a special floral display unit out front courtesy of the employees and the general contractor. You walk into an 'eye catching' 100' x 160' 'Consumer Display' section complete with a 10' high shelf showcasing various John Deere 'consumer goods'. And greeting you at the retail counter is a colorful prairie scene with an old country barn, woodlots, fields of corn and wheat plus a depiction of the original 1-bottom plow that launched the John Deere machinery company. A show place of sorts? Yes, indeed. Read More And See A lot More
Well, it's all of the above for 62-year-old Daniel Shaw, a plumbing contractor at Geneva, Fla. Who has given new meaning to the term "hangar home." The structure is 50' wide x 60' deep x 30' tall, all metal/ However, a 45' x 15' Schweiss hydraulic door sporting a wrap-around porch with decorator railing, table and chairs, a "walk through" door with stylish window, and veranda "roof" gets your attention. Read More And See A lot More
Schweiss Hydraulic and Bifold Doors recently installed four new hydraulic doors at the Renville County Fairgrounds located in Bird Island, MN. The Renville County Board approached Schweiss looking for a way to open up the event building located at the county's fairgrounds. The event building is used to host live bands, beer gardens and public auctions by Henslin Auction Services. Hydraulic doors seemed like the perfect solution to open up the building and allow easy access to the building for large groups of people. Read More And See A lot More
We're no longer just selling iron. Today we're selling precision farming products and that requires special training of both our personnel and our farm customers," says Paal Haug, general manager of Haug Implement with stores at Willmar and Litchfield Read More And See A lot More
The creativity of customers continues to be a driving force for many manufacturers. Take for example North Star Imaging, Inc., a Rogers, Minnesota manufacturer of industrial x-ray systems which are enclosed by a radiation shielding cabinet and access door and used by manufacturing firms in the aerospace, military, automotive, medical device, electronics, even the genetic seed industry and many more. Read More And See A lot More
How do you make the loading dock area for your store secure, yet still easily accessible and stylish? This Target store in North Carolina found the answer with two 39' x 17' bifold gates for their loading area. Give us your idea and we will get you the door. Read More And See A lot More
What looked like a near impossible situation without some totally new engineering design instead turned out to be a remarkable solution to an extreme challenge. The challenge? How to fit a "roof door" over a 20' by 30' sandblasting chamber used by SMS Millcraft, Oil City, PA. This firm specializes in refurbishing component parts for various Pennsylvania steel mills. Read More And See A lot More
It is rare that an Air Tractor dealership changes hands. It cant be done without an approval from Air Tractor, Inc. This requirement became all too apparent to Bill Taylor of Farm Air in Fairfield Illinois. Bill was starting to think about retiring from the business he formed in 1976. Shortly after forming Farm Air, Bill saw a need for Air Tractors in the Midwest, and approached Air Tractor about becoming a dealer. Over thirty successful years later, Bill decided it was time to sell Farm Air with its Air Tractor dealership intact. Read More And See A lot More