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Delavan feed and seed dealer is diversified

By Staff | Mar 15, 2010

Dan Klinkner

In the past 23 years, Dan Klinkner, of rural Delavan, has seen a lot of changes in agriculture.

But one thing has not changed for Klinkner — he has always enjoyed selling.

“When I was a kid, I liked to plant garden seeds I’d seen in seed catalogs,” says Klinkner. “Then, I would drive around, on my bike, selling seeds to the neighbors. Now, I get in my truck and sell Pioneer seed to area farmers.”

To this day, Klinkner says, “If it’s good and will help a farmer, I’ll sell it.”

Klinkner has as diversified an agricultural background as the items he sells or consulting services he provides.

A graduate of Winnebago High School, Klinkner earned an agriculture education degree from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls. He then taught agriculture education for two years in Fairmont. At this time, he also sidelined as a driving instructor for Mid-Southern Driving School.

“My father, Arnold, started the driving school,” says Klinkner. “I helped with it from about 1987-2002. Working one-on-one with the kids was great. I never was too nervous doing this with beginning drivers because I had my set of brakes, so I was always in control.”

After his two-year teaching stint, Klinkner changed occupations. He became employed by the Frank Elevator Feed Service and Grain Mill in Mapleton. He got into sales and sold Purina feed from 1987-1992 to area livestock farmers.

“I got a lot of hands-on pig and cattle experience while working at Frank’s,” says Klinkner.

He and his family then moved to Vernice Mensing’s home site where they eventually built a new home and added other storage buildings.

It was at this time, Klinkner began raising baby Holstein calves.

“I was supposed to be selling Purina feed all along at Frank’s, but I got into Big Gain in 1992,” says Klinkner. “We sold a lot of dairy, beef and chicken feed back then.”

By 1992, he intended to partner with another fellow to start a new business venture. However, that did not pan out, so Klinkner started up his own business, Dan’s Direct Livestock.

He says when he started his livestock service, farmers used the same barn to farrow to finish their hogs. Now, the farrowing, nursery and finishing operations are done at different sites. Agriculture, he says, has become more complex in some areas and more simplified in others.

“I used to sell pig concentrate feeds which were 400-500 pounds per ton,” says Klinkner. “Now, I primarily sell pre-mixes, which are only about 50 pounds per ton. This makes it a lot easier for me and the farmer to work with.”

In 1994, he got into the pig marketing business.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.