This father and son duo are seed cleaning crazy!
Chris and Rodney Blenkin are a father-son duo with a passion for seed. Together, they co-manage the Carmangay Seed Cleaning Plant in southern Alberta. Cleaning seed is still priority No. 1, but treatments and a digital presence are two new value-added offerings.
The addition of a mobile seed treater three years ago has proven positive for the facility. In the first year, staff treated 50,000 bushels, followed by 75,000 and this year the goal is 100,000. With the treater, their partnership with UFA has expanded, as their chemical needs substantially rose. It was a natural fit to continue working with UFA thanks to their customer account manager Jennifer Dale.
“She has such a vast knowledge of treatments,” says Chris, 35. “I was trying to get my head around the whole thing, but she already knew everything. Her support was the big thing. She was willing to help us gain the knowledge that we needed.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALI G
Chris sees his relationship with the UFA team beyond a generic business-to-consumer dynamic.
“It’s a business relationship, but it’s also that ability to be friends. The people in the store know me. It’s really nice that they know my name and what I do,” he says. “Some businesses you have to jump through all these hoops to get something, but at UFA, we’re treated like more than just a customer.”
Heartened by the level of service UFA provides him, Chris now connects with his own clients beyond traditional channels. The plant boasts its own website, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALI G
“Social media gives us the ability to connect with people all over the country and even the world, which is a super valuable tool,” he says.
Just last year, the plant’s phone lines were jammed, so a farmer took a Snapchat of his grain and sent it to Chris asking him to book it. No problem.
“Younger farmers like multiple forms of communication,” he says. “Some people think it’s silly that he sent a Snap of his grain, but I also say, ‘why not?’ It costs me nothing to have those avenues. We’re always trying to do new things.”