This week we are reflecting on the career of our General Manager, Greg Schwanbeck, as his retirement becomes official.  Greg has been the only General Manager of Ag Partners since its formation in 1996.

After graduating from college, Greg’s career in agriculture began in 1975 as a management intern through Midland Cooperative and he started at the cooperative in Junction City, WI.  However, what was intended to be a short internship ended up lasting four years as the manager at the time had to leave due to illness and Greg was hired as the General Manager.

In 1979 he was ready for a new challenge and became Manager at the Lewiston Coop.  The coop had a state of the art fertilizer plant which was recently built west of town (that fertilizer plant now serves Ag Partners customers since it was part of Benson Farm Service.)

Greg went on to manage Coop Service in Red Wing for a brief stint in 1983 as the cooperative was closing.  During that time, he got to know and worked with neighboring cooperatives.

In the fall of 1983, Greg was hired as Assistant Manger at Farmers Elevator Company in Lake City.  Farmers Elevator Company acquired Farmers Coop Elevator in Cannon Falls in 1985.  When they also leased the Searle Grain site in Cannon Falls in 1986, Greg went to Cannon Falls to manage the sites.

The General Manager position of Farmers Elevator Company became available in 1988 and Greg was hired to fill the role.  Despite the constant change and consolidation in the ag industry, Greg maintained growth and successful operations.

Always willing to embrace opportunities, Greg established the Grange Hall, WI location and leased the Kellogg, MN elevator and feedmill which added needed capacity.

As waves on consolidation continued to move through the ag industry, the opportunity for a unification with Goodhue Elevator became a logical fit as both companies served similar territories.  Greg was hired as General Manager of the new company.  The name Ag Partners was chosen which proved to be very fitting as partnership would be a common theme in Greg’s career.

Many partnerships were formed which proved to be vital in providing customer service and improving the company’s performance.

Western Wisconsin Ag Supply was formed in 1999 with Deiss & Nugent in Ellsworth, WI

Red Wing Grain was formed in 2001 with Cargill

Western Wisconsin Nutrition was formed in 2003 with Deiss & Nugent in Ellsworth, WI

Benson Farm Service was formed in 2009 in Lewiston, MN with Farmers Co-op Elevator in Rushford.

Farm Country Co-op based in Pine Island merged with Ag Partners in 2013

Genesis Cooperative based in Le Sueur merged with Ag Partners in 2018.

One of Greg’s proudest accomplishments was the creation of the Preferred Stock program which began in 2005.  The Preferred Stock program has fulfilled its goals of returning dividends to the patrons quicker and in the hands of the current producers while maintaining financial stability for the company.

The culture Greg created and his legacy he leaves will be a blueprint for years to come.

Congratulations on your retirement Greg and thank you for a job well done!