As an operations manager in the automotive industry, Dewey VanderVlucht understands how improving efficiencies in all areas – no matter how small – can lead to a bigger return when all the little things add up. Dewey takes the many lessons he has learned working in automotive to his custom farming business, with one important addition: relationships.
Dewey and his sons, Josh and Jake, operate VV Heritage, LLC, a custom harvesting and manure hauling business serving dozens of farms in Missaukee County. Together with their wives, Kim, Kayle and Jessica and a team of dedicated employees who work hard around the clock, they have built a reputable business in the farming community.
When he began his custom business, Dewey was managing a 300-cow dairy that, over the years, grew to a 1,800-cow dairy with 3,500 acres of custom work. Working on the dairy, Dewey saw a need to help farmers with their field work, eliminating the need for each farm to purchase and run their own equipment. Starting with a Claas 900 chopper, Dewey began doing custom harvesting work for a couple farms in the area in 2008. Since then, he and his sons have expanded their equipment line, and their customers.
“I have taken what I have learned as an operations manager and applied it to my business which helps my business as well as the farms I work with,” Dewey says. “I look to reduce costs and gain efficiencies anywhere I can. By doing that, I can save the farmers money, too. When I drive my costs down, I drive down theirs at the same time.”
Having a mutual respect for his customers and building strong working relationships with them has helped Dewey grow his business. He acts as a consultant as well as a service provider to help his customers maximize their efficiencies.
Dewey and his family were struck by tragedy in 2014 when his nephew, Jared, was killed in a farming accident. During the wake of the tragedy, the family witnessed the incredible impact Jared had on those around him during his short life. Dewey takes that realization of how each person can impact another with him in every aspect of his life.
“My farmers got me the business I have today,” Dewey says. “Relationships come first, I have to build trust with the people I work with and they in turn give me a chance. We want to do whatever the customer needs. The dairy farmers trust me with one of the most important parts of their business – putting up good forages. I get one chance to get it right.”
Listening and working closely with his customers allows Dewey and his sons to add the services that will provide the most value to his customers. Before purchasing new equipment or adding a new service, they will survey their current customers to see if there is a need.
While Dewey feels accomplishment in the business he has grown, his true pride comes from watching his sons working hard, building their own relationships, and making daily business decisions. Josh runs the day-to-day business, while Jake works to keep all the machinery running every day.
“My sons are there every day doing what needs to be done,” Dewey says. “I was asked to come back to my previous position in the automotive business, so I am at work during the day while they are keeping everything in line on the farms. My dad taught me how to work – there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do. And I want to pass that along to my sons.”
One of the key lessons Dewey takes from his “day job” to his business is the concept of putting the right people in the right spots. It was this thought process that led him to bring his tax and accounting to GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
Dewey first did business with GreenStone with a small operating loan. From the first loan, Dewey began transitioning all his business to the team at the Cadillac branch. Most recently, he started using the tax and accounting services to handle his payroll, accounting and tax preparation.
“GreenStone FCS does a great job putting the right people in the right spots,” Dewey says. “I started working with Ann Allen on aligning my loans with a structure that works for my business. Throughout this process I was able to build a relationship with her team. Autumn Rector, credit analyst, has been extremely important with her expertise from a credit perceptive. Mark Dingee is my loan officer now and this transition has been seamless. Ann, Autumn, and Mark have done such a great job that I trusted them when they introduced Stacey Mason for tax and accounting. Everyone is really good at their jobs!”
Having all his financial business, including the accounting services, with GreenStone gives Dewey the added convenience of having everything in one place. With all his equipment financing and accounting at the branch, he is able to handle all his business in one stop.
“Dewey is great to work with,” says Stacey Mason, GreenStone tax accountant. “We have been able to help him with his payroll and taxes, creating seamless transactions between all the areas we work with.”
GreenStone tax and accounting services have evolved over the years to better meet customer needs. The accounting team is currently offering free tax and accounting reviews for customers wanting to maximize their efficiencies. For more information, contact your local GreenStone branch.
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