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Jeff King Interview

Introduction of Jeff

Brett Bamert: I am Brett Bamert, president of Bamert Seed Company, and today I’m here with Jeff. Jeff, would you like to introduce yourself?

Jeff King: You bet. Thanks, Brett. I’m, Jeff King. I’m the production manager here. I came on board in 2017. My background is in, what we would kind of consider kind of typical farming or, cotton, corn, wheat, sorghum, everywhere from Muleshoe to the panhandle of Texas to the Southern corn belt, kind of the Midwest area a little bit. And so, coming here, I, I came here from, from that. Yep.

What Surprised You About Bamert / Native Seed Industry?

Brett: Very cool. And so what was one of the things that really surprised you when you showed up, you know, first couple of months and, and started learning about the native seed process?

Jeff: Yeah. I grew up here in Muleshoe and I would say I, I had no idea kinda what took place out here. Yeah. And, so I was really taken back by the whole process of, you know, this is for seed production and not hay or, yeah, I was just taken back by the whole operation.

Brett: We get that, we get that a lot. These guys must be hay guys. They produce a lot of hay. 

Jeff: We do get that.

Brett: Produce a lot of hay, but, you know, it’s not off of it first. Yep.

What Do You Enjoy Most About What You Do?

So, Jeff, what, what do you enjoy most about what you do out here day to day? 

Jeff: Yeah. With no, no question. The thing that I enjoy the most is the opportunity to, uh, be creative. I think coming from all those other operations where the manual is almost written for you, it’s pretty repetitive is kind of what those big operators would say. It’s repetitive. We can, we can, we can blow this thing up, is you’ve gotta be able to think outside the box on a daily basis. And so having a place and an opportunity to do that is what I enjoy the most. Yeah.

What Is The Most Common Question You Get?

Brett: When you tell people, that you, that you’re in the native seed business, what, what’s the most common question you get?

Jeff: I get a lot of yard questions, lawn. Yeah. Lawn questions.

Difference Between Native Grass & Flower Seed Farm & Traditional Commodity Based Farm

Brett: Yeah. So, so I think a lot of the viewers, Jeff, would like to know a little bit more about the difference between, native grass and flower seed farm and the traditional commodity based farm. Can you talk a little bit about, maybe some of the challenges. And the differences you see in these two operations?

Jeff: Absolutely. I would have to say it’s our small plot acres that we can produce. You know, we’re doing some one acre stuff that, doing quite a bit of it. So the scale is we go from one acres, one acre plot all the way to a 240 acre field and everything in between. And so probably that, I don’t know of any one acre cotton fields out there. 

Brett: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Harvest equipment. Yeah. You know, the level of person you need on that combine too, in your team.

Jeff: Yeah, sure. So each field, I would say, you know, I was thinking about this earlier, we have one particular pivot that I believe has 12 different species under it. And each of those 12 requires a different harvest, equipment, different inputs, different amount of fertilizer, different timing, different amount of irrigation. And all these things are happening at different times of the, of the year. And so just having somebody who’s capable of, you know, doing this to this plot and staying off of this plot, is pretty important. 

What Is The Most Challenging Part To Native Seed Production?

Brett: Yeah, absolutely. What is the most challenging part to native seed production?

Jeff: I think the most challenging part to native seed production is, I kind of view it as a, one shot theory is when we go to put a field in, we have one shot to get it right, to get the, the population that’s a manageable population for seed production with one opportunity. Because once we plant it and we get that little grass up, we need to be in there putting a pre-emerge down and, and really, starting to work that field and there’s no opportunity for a replant. We have one shot to spray most of this stuff in a tight window, whether it’s weather or it’s flowering or, you know, whatever it be, it’s gonna be a tight window. And then harvest, it’s kind of a one shot at harvest as well. Some of this stuff may be maybe three days between where we can get the customer the highest quality seed and mother nature does its thing with it and, and shatters that plant and scatters it. And so being ready to run, being ready to run in a timely manner and with employees that know how to solve problems so that we can, when we, when we are down, we can get back running quickly. Yeah.

Brett: Yeah. Checking those fields, project, trying to project out. Whenever be ready. Yeah. So that, you can kind of get geared up and, and, be ready for that when, when the day comes and it’s like, okay, today’s the day, let’s go. Yeah. And so if it’s like today’s the day and then you’re out there, uh oh, the combine’s not ready. Yeah. You don’t have the right header hooked up. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of management when you’re cutting corn, you’re cutting corn every day, the corn head’s already hooked up. Yep. You know, it’s whether that field’s ready or not. And so, and

Jeff: That corn’s gonna wait on you. Right. That corn is not going anywhere for a long time.

Brett: Yeah. I’m not gonna get to that after, after Thanksgiving. Yeah. It’s today or never

Jeff: That hooded windmill field. Yeah. Is gonna be gone tomorrow. Right. With that 30 mile an hour wind. Yeah. If it is not harvested today. Yeah.

Brett: And then just as we continue to produce more species, our harvest methods are changing too. Yeah, sure. I mean, we’re adding new equipment, new harvest methods. Yeah. It changes from year to year. You know, it’s not like we did, this is how we harvest this particular species. It changes depending on how determinate that field is.

Jeff: Yeah. That’s kind of one of those, you gotta think outside the box deals I enjoy, we’ll sit down occasionally, kinda over the winter and, and look back at kind of some yields and some numbers and, throw around some ideas of trying a different harvest method or maybe trying a different fertilizer program or, you know, just all those challenges.

Brett: Yep. Yep. And then as your product gets to market, and, you know, we’ve talked a lot about, you know, the quality of the product that we’re able to offer to market because of the production because of, the processing and cleaning, and then the, the, the sales team being able to provide, a blend that’s gonna meet the customer’s needs.

What Gives You The Most Pride Seeing In Seeing The Pallets Leave?

And so, as you see the pallets and the seed leaving every day, what gives you the most pride in, in seeing those, seeing those pallets leave? What, what, what impact, do you ultimately feel when you see those leave?

Jeff: Oh yeah. It’s such a good feeling to, to see those, you know, their stacks so neatly and you know that they’ve been cleaned to a, a standard that is probably above anybody else. You know, the confidence that I have when the seed leaves here to know that it’s gonna do, that farmer, that rancher, that landowner, that custom planter guy, a good job is very, very high. Yeah. I’m not sitting there going, oh, I wonder if he got some of that bad seed, you know? Yeah. Right. Well, so yeah, just very confident in the seed that leaves here. Yeah.

Brett: Making a big impact, you know? Yeah. Through not a small geographic region, but a pretty large geographic area. Yeah. And, making a lot of impact on a lot of people’s lives. Right. It’s pretty cool. It is pretty cool. Yep. No doubt. Well, Jeff, thank you for coming today.

Jeff: Yeah. Appreciate it. Brett.