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Brian Hays Interview

Introduction of Brian Hays

Rob Cook: We’re here this afternoon with Brian Hays, one of our reclamation specialists. Brain, happy to, happy to have you.

Brian Hays: Glad to be here.

Rob: Can you gimme a little bit of, your background? Sure. Before, before you got to Bamert.

Brian: So I grew up in, in Brownwood, Texas, and then went to school at Texas A & M. I did my undergraduate degree in Rangeland Ecology and Management. And then after I graduated, I worked for a couple of years for, well, I worked for about a year with the environmental company doing soil reclamation, soil testing there in College Station. And then, worked for two years with AgriLife Research in the Rangeland department, helping graduate students do their research out in West Texas and Kansas, and several states, just depending on where their work was going on. And then, had the opportunity to go to work for the Texas Railroad Commission and the Surface Mining Division. Working in that for, as an agronomist for about a year. And then, had spent about two years in Williamson County as an ag appraiser with the appraisal district there.

And then I started a career with, where we spent most of my career with Texas Agrilife extension, started in the range department, um, working on watershed management, rangeland watershed management, water conservation. And then, switched over to the wildlife department and worked with, trying to re reestablish and reclaim bermudagrass past bermudagrass pastures back into native grasslands for grassland birds purposes habitat. And then I went on to the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, which is now the Natural Resource Institute, and did a lot of work with them working with private landowners, primarily a lot to deal with endangered species and habitat management. And that included planting native grasses, prescribed fire brush management, things along those lines. And then I have the opportunity to follow you at, Noble Research Institute as a, as a range consultant for a couple of years. And then I’ve been here with Bamert for just almost two years now.

Rob: It’s been two years.

Brian: Near March 1st be two years.

Rob: Time flies when you’re having fun.

Brian: That’s right.

How Does Your Background Allow You To Serve Our Customers

Rob: So I mean, Brian’s pretty, very diverse background. A lot of knowledge, you and experiences you bring to the table across several, several different industries. But how do you feel that background allows you to serve our customers?

Brian: I, I think just the different experiences I’ve had and, and the opportunities to work with landowners. I always say one of the best jobs I ever had was being an, an ag appraiser because nobody liked you. You know, you were the bad guy, you’re the tax guy when you really weren’t, you were just appraiser. I was just saying yes or no when you’re wildlife valuation or ag valuation. So learning how to deal with people, and, and, and kind of read people and understand where they’re coming from. And then the background in, in working with private landowners in Texas as a private land state in Oklahoma as well. Just knowing the issues they have and, and trying to understand, the ability to talk to them and see what their goals are. They want to graze livestock, are they more interested in wildlife, what their management skills may be.

And really, I just think it’s a, I like, I like people, I like working with people and, and I think my background helps me quite a bit every day on several calls a day. It’s just to be able to relate to that producer, even if it’s the point. It’s like, you know, you say you wanna buy something, but you do, you know what you have. You may not need to buy anything. You may just need a little management and rest, as you know. And a lot of those native plants are resilient and it’ll still be there if you give ’em time, to express themselves. So it’s not always about selling ’em something, but it’s helping educate ’em, I think to me is what I, I like about this position.

Rob: Yeah. So you said almost two years. Yep. Two years in March. 

Brian: Two years in March.

What Surprised You Most About Bamert / Industry?

Rob: You know, you, you’ve had contact with native seed companies, previous work Yep. You know, and were aware of of Bamert and the Bamert seed. And, and other companies. But what surprised you the most when you first got here?

Brian: So, you know, I’ve been here before, at the headquarters. Of course, we’d come out to come on a sand hill crane hunt, three to four years ago now. That’s been that long ago. But when got the quick tour here of the facilities and just, it was very impressive then end, to look at it now. And the two years I’ve been here, what’s been added just on the seed cleaning side and the facilities out here and the staff that run all of that’s impressive. I think the, I wasn’t, I had, I did not have an idea how big the farms are in all the work and the time and effort that’s required to produce those quality native seeds. So I’m impressed with that. And then, and then getting here just with the really impressed with the people inside and outside. Great team, um, feels like family.

What Are The Common Questions You Get?

Rob: Yeah. Agreed. So with with, you know, you, you come with a lot of experience in a pretty diverse, web of contacts and, and, and folks that, that, you know, from very different industries. But what are some of the common questions you get asked a a about your job that, from, from folks that say, Brian, why why’d you go to Bamert and, and what do you do? What, I mean.

Brian: That’s a good question. And, and those, I can think of the three or four different questions, but I’ll try to just throw out a few. You know, a lot of people wondered, I think did wonder why. And you know, part of it is a new, I knew you and it was a good opportunity. I was able to, I do work remotely from my, my house in Ardmore, although I come about once a quarter for a week out here and then, get to get to come here to Muleshoe. So, I just think it was a great opportunity cuz I knew I’d be able to work with people and work with a good group of family I’d, I’d known Nick Bamert before from some state, state level meetings, committee meetings we’re on together. And, and always thought highly of of Nick and just thought it was a good opportunity for me to, to really to be able to work on a good team. And, and not that any of the other ones I’ve been at weren’t, but just the opportunity to work daily basis with a lot of producers.

And then the other questions that I get, like just today somebody’s, hey, if I order this today, would I get it in two weeks? I’m like, no, you get it. We’ll ship tomorrow. They’re like, I can’t believe that it’s like that. That is impressive. I mean, a big order that these guys all all get blended, 10 way blend and it’ll ship tomorrow and they’ll have it by Thursday. So I I, that always impresses a lot of people it seems like to me. And I don’t know how, how the others, how other companies do that, but I think that’s something we should be proud of that we can move product that quick.

The Dynamic Of The 3 Parts Of The Company

Rob: Yeah, agreed. Yeah. So to kind of kind of expand on that, kind of from your perspective, what’s the dynamic of, of those three different parts of that we consider within, within the company production warehouse and sales? What’s the dynamic of how those all work together and what value do each of each of bring to the, to the hall?

Brian: Oh, I think it brings a tremendous value just because of first the working relationship among all the three, if you wanna call it three teams. I mean, everybody, you know, you can see us in the morning when we get here and, you know, have coffee and visit and talk about what’s doing and, and things that might be coming. Hey, Manuel might have this big order, I think, and they’re gonna want it, you know, and, and you learn, I think I’ve learned that after being here. You know, it’s, it’s communication, you know, that good communication allows us to, to move smoothly and effortlessly. But I, I think, with the team leaders who have here that, that they’ve, they’ve really got it run smoothly. And I think it’s based on that communication amongst the, the departments or the teams, that allows that to happen.

Rob: Yeah. Communication is key. It is complex.

Brian: Yep. Yes. Yeah.

Rob: So, what questions do you get people ask, you know, what do you, do you sell native seed. What do you do? What, what’s the most common question you get?

Brian: Yeah, I guess that’s it. Cuz it, it is it, I don’t consider it as a salesman. I consider more as, you know, we call reclamation specialist or a consultant. I think I tell, I honestly tell everybody about 50% of our calls are, are customers that have been customers a long time, that are contractors that are planning, right of ways or whatever it may be. And they’ll call up and say, I need this blend for this county or this bureau of land management blend number two. The other third or even even 40% is, is producers that, Hey, I just bought 200 acres what I need to plant. And that’s where that consultation, I think, and that’s where our, all of our team’s background comes in as well, what are your goals? What do you have there now? You know, what class of livestock are you gonna run if you’re gonna run livestock or are you just interested in wildlife habitat? So those are the big questions. There’s like, what, what are your, it’s more of a education or consultation I think. And at the end of the day, if they purchase seed, that’s great. And, and, and if they don’t, if we help ’em meet their goals, I think that’s great too.

What Excites You About The Future Of Bamert / Industry?

Rob: Great. So from from from your role with the company and your experience so far, what excites you the most for the future of, of Bamert Seed Company and maybe the industry and native seed industry as a whole?

Brian: I’m gonna start with the industry as a whole first. And, and I think, and this is just my opinion, I think there’s great opportunity in the native grass seed industry as you see, a lot of these, renewable energies, solar farms and their planting back and they wanna go back with natives and pollinator species. As soil health has picked up over the last few years and people wanting to go back to native and I think carbon credits, carbon marketing may be what potential may have some potential coming forward, where native plants are gonna play a big role in that. And I think, as you know, Rob, in the next 10 to 15 years, we’ll probably have the biggest generational shift in landowners in the state is our landowners. Now, I think the average age is late sixties. So I think a lot of these folks that are gonna be inheriting the properties or people that are buying the properties have that more of a wildlife habitat conservation ethic, if you will, and want to have native pastures, native grasslands. And, and so I think that provides a lot of opportunity. And I think from the Bamert side, I think we’re well positioned for that with the production capabilities we have with the seed cleaning facilities and equipment we have and the staff we have, we have a great opportunity to, to meet that demand that I think will, will be coming.

Is There Anything Else Everybody Needs To Know?

Rob: Great. So is there anything that you, you think folks ought don’t know that we hadn’t discussed that we hadn’t touched on? From your perspective and as far as your role here or the, or the company or the industry or.

Brian: No, I would just encourage anybody that, that has questions to call us or come see us. Rob and I, Nicholas, Jamie, we’re on the road. We’ll be at different events. We’re, you know, we’re, we’re usually always at all the agricultural events. We’re trying to be more now at some of these green energy events and just have our presence there to be able to answer these questions that folks may have. We get it. Jamie and I got into at Oil and Gas Show last year. Why are y’all here? Why is the seed coming here? We’re like, when y’all put in a pipeline or need to reclaim a pad, what do y’all do? Oh, we buy seed. Yeah. We just want y’all to be aware of us and be here to answer any questions you may have. And one thing I didn’t mention, I think that that’s, that, and it may have been mentioned by some of the other guys is, the Seed Spec app app that’s, that’s available now, that helps a producer or, a private company be able to develop a blend of commercially available seeds, grass and forbes and, and it picks the variety that’ll work in your location where you’ve drawn your area of interest on the map.

I think that’s, that, that lends us well in, in a good position as well to be a leader in the seed bus, native seed business. That’s at

Rob: Yeah, I agree. Again,  Yeah. Great. That’s, that is a good tool and they can be valued everybody. But appreciate your time.