At 21st Century Equipment, the Parts & Service department faces daily challenges to get repairs done so their customers are back on the job quickly. During harvest, the peak season, the departments at all locations are overwhelmed with repairs and parts orders. Prioritization is impossible. Every customer is important, and they all need their machine now. The Priority Service Program, or PSP, has made a significant impact to balance work throughout the year, in order to better serve our customers.
The Six Mile Farms team in Yuma, Colorado knows the importance of having their equipment ready to go for harvest. Six Mile Farms, a long-time staple in Yuma, is owned by Dennis Bauke. Dennis’ son, Ben Bauke, is managing the farm while another son, Mark Bauke, is handling the Berkshire All-Natural Hog business. Dennis says, “the boys pretty much run the farm now, but they keep me up-to-date on what’s going on.”
The Bauke family’s 160 acres of land was purchased by Dennis’ Great-Grandmother in 1917, providing the financial backing to get Ferdinand and Lena, Dennis’ grandparents, into farming. Dennis’ parents initially rented and worked the farm, taking over in 1949 with a new Minneapolis Moline propane tractor and new Studebaker pickup. In the late 80s, Dennis worked at MV Equipment, the local John Deere dealer, but decided to run the farm full-time, eventually purchasing it from his parents in 2001. Dennis was diagnosed with MS in 2008 and has depended on his boys to take the lead. Ben and Mark are now another generation working the land at Six Mile Farms, while helping their Dad with his illness.
Sometimes it’s a struggle. Six Mile Farms made the decision to focus on wheat, corn, milo, beets and alfalfa not long ago. Ben says, “we were raising beef cattle and farming and it got to the point we had to focus on one or the other. We chose farming.” Ben has been handling all farming aspects of the business for the past 12 years and time is precious. Alfalfa has been the best return for their farm, with the number of dairy farms in the area and the area being known to be a bit dryer.
Ben admits his brother, Mark, is the more strategic of the two and it was Mark who led the development of Berkshire All-Natural Hog Farm about 5 years ago. The hog farm is regulated by the Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.) for Whole Foods Market. Six Mile Farms provides premium all-natural pork to seven or eight Whole Foods Markets on the Front Range of Colorado under the Black Diamond brand name. This business has been very profitable for Six Mile Farms, and Dennis is quick to say, “everyone doubted us and said this wasn’t a good plan to go into hogs, but we’ve shown those bankers and nay-sayers wrong.”
Ben says, “the Priority Service Program solves our problem, and it helps to have a guy like Preston Huser [Service Manager at Yuma] helping us out.” Ben says, “I’ve gotten our combine, air drill, beat digger and all of our tractors to Preston on the PSP program and then I know the machines are ready to work and I can focus on all my other tasks leading up to harvest.” Dennis added that he likes the no payments, no interest option, a good program that provides the “ability to manage our cash flow.”
In the end, Six Mile Farms is a longtime family farmer in Yuma faced with many challenges, like many neighboring farms. One advantage is the PSP, which Dennis says, “contributes to our success.”
21st Century Equipment offers our sincerest condolences to the Baucke family on the recent passing of Dennis Lee Baucke on October 23rd, 2020.