Serving Nebraska Cattleman, Ackerman provides ag and supply services
Alliance, Neb. – In the search for feed or advice on cattle in western Nebraska, Ackerman Ag Services and Supply will likely show up on the radar.
Ackerman Ag Service and Supply Owner Callan Ackerman, has a Ph.D. in beef cattle nutrition and a background in agriculture.
“I am a beef cattle nutritionist, so I consult with customers to work on formulating rations, feed analysis, making decisions on minerals, backgrounding calves and more,” Ackerman says.
He was born and raised on a cow/calf operation south of Alliance, Neb. in the Sandhills.
“Growing up, I developed a love for agriculture, so I got my bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Wyoming (UW). After UW, I went to the University of Nevada, Reno to pursue my masters degree, also in animal science,” Ackerman mentions. “Finally, I received my Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition from Oklahoma State University.”
After college, Ackerman went on to teach at Oregon State University as a beef cattle nutrition and management professor.
“I taught at Oregon State for three years, then moved back home to Alliance, where I opened Ackerman Ag Service and Supply,” he states.
Ackerman says his 20-year background in nutrition has been a phenomenal asset to his business.
“A lot of customers come to Ackerman Ag Service and Supply because of my background in cattle nutrition,” he adds.
“We are a retail feed and livestock store that sells ADM Animal Nutrition products, Hubbard and Ralco Animal Nutrition products,” Ackerman explains. “This is an independent feed store because we buy feed and resell it. We don’t work for anyone else.”
Ackerman Ag Service and Supply sells more than just feed, according to Ackerman.
“Gates, stock tanks, panels, wire and posts, along with general animal health products are some of the items sold at the store, as well. The primary bread and butter is the feed, though,” he states.
With customers in several counties of Nebraska, Ackerman Ag Service and Supply provides nutritional services along with the feed sold in-store, which are offered free of cost.
As the owner, Ackerman works at the store with three other full-time employees and two part-time employees year-round.
“Back in 2006, I started Ackerman Ag Service and Supply in a small warehouse,” he says.
Since then, the feed store has expanded every year, until 2015, when Ackerman built a bigger warehouse with 2,000 square feet of retail space.
“At the new store, there is now a drive-thru. Customers can pull into the west side of the warehouse, load up with feed and exit out the east side,” notes Ackerman. “Both trucks and semis can pull in and go straight through, which is nice when the weather is bad.”
Over the years, the store has changed in other ways, too, mentions Ackerman.
“With the new warehouse, I have been able to provide and focus on more services. I was able to hire a store manager, Lee Jerke, who has taken over a lot of the paperwork I used to do, which allows more time for consultations,” he explains.
Ackerman spends most of his time visiting ranches, evaluating cattle, analyzing feed and formulating rations for customers in western Nebraska.
The expansion of Ackerman Ag Service and Supply has been the biggest change for the business because more services are provided for customers, which means, “A more loyal customer base has been built,” says Ackerman.
Inside Ackerman Ag Service and Supply, there is also a small gun store, which Jerke and Ackerman decided to incorporate when the new warehouse was built.
“After building the new store, there was more retail space than we were used to. We hired Guy Hielscher, who has a lifetime’s experience with anything to do with firearms and decided to give him the opportunity to run the gun store,” states Ackerman.
Hielscher has a federal firearms license and manages and sells all the guns in the store.
“Hielscher and Jerke have been successful at running the gun store. I don’t have anything to do with the gun side of things,” says Ackerman.
Currently, the primary goal of Ackerman Ag Service and Supply is to serve the local beef industry.
“We want to be a part of the local community and serve the western Nebraska beef industry,” he states. “This area is primarily beef cattle, and there aren’t many dairy or swine producers, so we focus on the cattle. Plus, cattle nutrition is my specialty.”
Ackerman mentions future plans for Ackerman Ag Service and Supply are to continue what they have done so far and continue to grow and serve customers.
Every business faces challenges, and Ackerman says the main issue he’s facing is the current agriculture economy.
“The agriculture economy just isn’t healthy, especially on the crop side, and the cattle market isn’t really great either,” notes Ackerman.
Agriculture commodity prices and farmers’ and ranchers’ disposable incomes are also a challenge for the business, he adds.
Enjoying the benefits
“To be successful, a business has to be able to withstand the times when producers aren’t able to spend as much money,” Ackerman states. “Fortunately for Ackerman Ag Service and Supply, many of our products are necessities for producers, so they will still buy from us.”
Despite the challenges, Ackerman believes there are still many benefits to western Nebraska.
“There are a lot of cattle ranchers and feeders in western Nebraska, which is good for business. Plus, there are good, honest people here, too,” he says. “Sometimes mistakes are made and extra feed is loaded up, but those producers will call and say they need to be billed for the extra bags.”
“I really enjoy working with the honest people of western Nebraska,” Ackerman adds.
Visit Ackerman Ag Service and Supply on Facebook, at facebook.com/ackermanag.
Heather Loraas is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.