July 9, 2015 by Katie Mason
Just like a local pharmacy is important to area residents, having a close location to purchase veterinary supplies such as an antibiotic to treat pink eye is vital to area livestock farmers.
Which is why Willow Creek Custom, Inc. of Bayard has announced the addition of an animal health product line to their business, which includes antibiotics, vaccines and insecticides.
“We want to provide our current customers with more services,” said Jon Halbur, sales manager for Willow Creek Custom Inc.
Willow Creek Custom, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Curtis Emery and Dan Bielenberg as a custom applicator of field chemicals. Then in 2011, they started selling livestock feed to local farmers as well.
This spring, when Cory Honold of Columbus, NE, (1990 Coon Rapids-Bayard grad) stopped by the Willow Creek office to catch up with his old classmate, Emery (1992 grad), he instantly saw the connection between the feed sales business and veterinary
product sales. At Honold’s suggestion, Willow Creek began selling several lines of insecticides, antibiotics, vaccinations and more for cattle, horses, hogs, and other livestock on a trial basis.
“It seemed like a good fit for us. We have been providing fencing supplies and some vet stuff for a couple years, but not to this level,” said Emery. “This makes us a one-stop shop for local farmers, and we are happy to provide the extra service.”
Honold, who owns an ag consulting and supply business, has had nearly 20 years of experience in the animal health product industry. He got his start as a district manager for Purina for five years before he switched to Pfizer in 2001. At Pfizer, now Zoetis, Honold was the senior territory manager and account executive responsible for MWI for 13 years. It was there that he learned to be very efficient with distribution.
“I learned under some very successful mentors. I want to bring these efficiencies back to my hometown communities, since many of the local producers here were classmates of ours. It feels good to save them some money,” he said.
“Cory has made this an easy addition to the business,” said Halbur, who refers customers to Honold to gain more in-depth information about the products they sell.
“These guys are experts in crops, so if there is a question they can’t answer about the livestock products, then I can answer them. If I don’t have the answer, I have vets and producers who can get me the answers. I make recommendations on what products are best suited to each case, but we can order whatever a farmer wants,” said Honold.
Willow Creek began offering insecticides, vaccines and antibiotics in April on a trial basis. Now that they have spent a few months adjusting their options and prices, they are ready to announce their offerings to the public.
“There has been a lot of interest,” said Honold of the trial period.
“We tried to figure out the right mix of products that guys want around here. So now, we have the most frequently used products in stock, in order to keep costs low, but we will special order products and it will ship in one day.”
One new insecticide that Emery and Honold are offering is the VetCap and VetGun. The VetGun Delivery System (similar to a paintball gun) uses a precision-engineered CO2-powered VetGun that projects a precise new dosage form called a VetCap, a ballistic gelatin capsule. Fired from a safe distance of 15-30 feet, the VetCap fragments upon impact, and then goes to work immediately in a similar way to traditional pour-ons.
This is very useful for treating animals in densely wooded or hilly pastures. It eliminates the need for farmers to corralnthe animals and then apply an insecticide spray.
“The VetGun is a new product that we are very excited to offer,” said Honold who tested the new product first-hand on a local cattle heard. “Our fear was that the gun would hurt the cows, but when we tested it, we were very satisfied with the result. The gelatin ball did not hurt the cow, and we saw fly relief within 10 minutes.”
For those who want to try out the new product, they can rent the gun from Willow Creek for $25 and purchase the necessary number of insecticide balls. One application will last three to six weeks.
“Willow Creek is the place in this area to buy your animal health needs so that you don’t have to drive to Jefferson, Guthrie Center or Carroll. The neat part is that if we don’t have it, then we can get it in a day, this keeps the cost down for our customers. We want guys to just stop in, and see how we can help them out,” concluded Honold.
Courtesy of Katie Mason, Coon Rapids Enterprise 7/9/15.