Tom and Jenni started out as crop farmers, with much of the crops dedicated to feed and bedding for their herd of beef cattle. But two straight years of crop devastation tested their finances - and their faith.
After extensive research into drought-tolerant crops, they took a gamble and planted 60 acres of sunflowers. The original goal was to sell the sunflower meal as animal feed and sell the "byproduct" sunflower oil in bulk by the semi-load. But three months in, Tom and Jenni faced another hard choice when the price for bulk oil fell sharply.
Even though there wasn't much sunflower oil on the retail market, they took another leap of faith by starting Smude's Sunflower Oil, hoping their big idea would take off. All of their hard work started to pay off when word spread about their delicious sunflower oil, and soon retailers were calling!
As Smude's Sunflower Oil grew, the demand for high volumes of sunflower oil led Tom and Jenni to found Midwest Processors.
Based in the Pierz industrial park, Midwest Processors specializes in high volume cold press processing of sunflower seeds to produce premium sunflower oil and sunflower meal products for a variety of purposes and industries.
Tom and Jenni are proud to also own and operate several other businesses in the Pierz community.
Midwest Sales & Construction sells livestock equipment, grain bins, & other grain handling equipment. They also service most grain bins and dryers, as well as constructing grain bins and hoop buildings.
Rich Prairie Custom Woods offers quality woodworking solutions, such as CNC machining and custom moulding, for a wide variety of customers and industries.
Never strangers to hard work, Tom and Jenni continue to crop farm, planting 150 acres of sunflowers, corn, soybeans, and hay each year.
When not working, Tom and Jenni are active members of the Pierz Commercial Club and proud supporters of the Pierz Pioneers.
Tom and Jenni's children, Katelyn and Mitchell, are following in their footsteps. A graduate of Minnesota State - Moorhead, Katelyn is the Marketing Manager for the family businesses. When not in school or helping on the farm, Mitchell is hard at work on the grain bin crew.