“So, what do you do for a living?” It’s one of the first questions a person asks when you meet a new person or see an old friend.
“I sell irrigation center pivots,” just doesn’t do it justice. For me, it’s much, much more than that. This dealership is something I have been around since I was 6 years old. It’s a family business that my father and uncles started in 1983. So the dealership feels like part of the family. I have watched it grow over the years, through good times and rough times. Just like a family member facing difficulties, the dealership always made it through the rough times with the help of family.
As I got older, my cousins and I started taking on bigger roles. We became the ones guiding the dealership in the direction that we thought was best for it. When you take on those roles, you start to see the bigger picture of what you’re involved in. That bigger picture is that we are a part of a greater family, the Agriculture Family of America.
We don’t just sell Valley pivots to farmers; it feels like we have a partnership with each one of the farmers we sell to. Some people sell things and that’s it. They sell it and don’t care if it actually works or if it’s even what the customer needs. It’s not like that as a Valley dealer. If it were, why would we answer the phone at 5 a.m. or 10 p.m. when a customer needs help? We answer the phone because we care, because our customers are a part of the agriculture family, and because we want to help our family. The business continues to grow, which means our agriculture family only gets bigger – just like a real family grows as the years go by.
Another important family member is the team we gain by becoming a Valley dealer; the Valley employees that we rely on every day for support. They aren’t just co-workers, they become our friends. We might only see once them a year, but it feels like we have known them a lifetime because we talk on such a regular basis to ensure our customers are getting what they need. You will not find better or harder working people in the Ag Family. To me, there really is no other company that comes close to the Valley family when you try to compare genuinely caring people who want to help their dealers.
Each year at the annual sales meetings, I’m reminded that we aren’t just selling pivots; we are helping feed the ever-expanding population of the world. With each new pivot we sell an extra bushel per acre can be raised to help feed that hungry child down the street or on the other side of the globe. My own children remind me why it’s important to get up every day and strive to make our dealership better, which in turn makes a better, healthier world. I also hope that my children will grow up around the dealership and come to love and care for it just as I have, by watching me just like I watched my own father. If they do, I’m hopeful they will have as much passion as I have for the dealership and will keep growing it to the next level.
So know that if you ask me the question, “what do you do for a living?”; and I only say, “I sell Valley irrigation center pivots,” it actually has a much deeper meaning to me.
Scates Valley Inc. in Carmi, IL
Patrick enjoys anything to do with agriculture and politics. When he isn't at work he loves spending time with his four children, Zoey, Maggie, and twin boys, Thomas and Henry. Any free time is enjoyed playing golf or spending time with the family at a cabin on a small lake in southern Illinois.