News: Spencer Farm Supply (Jun - 1974)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Bruesewitz, Buse

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 6/20/1974

Spencer Farm Supply (June - 1974)

Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)

Located in the Village of Spencer in Marathon County, is a place of business which served mainly the farmers in the area. The business is located on Highway 13, and according to Arnold Bruesewitz, owner and manager of Spencer Farm Supply, the relationship between the business and the farmers is one that can be summed up in a short sentence, “The need us and we need them.”

Beginning his career in the farm supply business the age of 21, Bruesewitz began working for Spencer Co-op as a bookkeeper, and in 1936 was named as manager for the co-op. In 1962, he purchased the Spencer Farm Supply, which at that time was a branch of the O. W. Trindal Co. The supply was purchased as a family corporation, with Walter Bruesewitz as vice-president and Isabel Bruesewitz as secretary.

Prior to his working at the farm supply, Bruesewitz graduated from the Spencer High School and the Wausau Business College, and received a degree from the International Accountant Society. He and his wife, the former Isabel Buse were both born and raised on farms in the Spencer area.

According to Bruesewitz, the farm supply employs six men, most of whom worked with him for a length of time, and all of whom were from farming backgrounds.

Turning back to when he began working in a business that deals mainly with farmers, it was stated by Bruesewitz that “a tremendous change has occurred in the farming business. Prices have changed, farms have changed, and the entire ideas of farming have changed. Farmers are aware of the need for a more concentrated balanced diet for their cattle. They know that in order to survive on a farm today, they have to meet the demands, and specifications that are expected of them, and all of this takes time, and money and an understanding of the farmers’ role in our society.”

It was pointed out that the reason for advancement and knowledge of the farmers in the area can be accredited to special programs that are available through the county extension office, reading periodicals, and the simple fact that more men are finishing high school, and taking courses in farm related subjects. Bruesewitz commenting on the advancement, also stated that the state experiment farm in Marshfield has been a great asset to all the farmers in the community, and the fact that artificial insemination has improved the dairy cattle.

Reflecting on the changes that have occurred in the feeding of cattle, Bruesewitz stated that it used to be the farmer’s responsibility to get his grain to the mill for grinding, but not today. The grain is usually picked up by the mill and is delivered back to the farmer in bulk form. The farmer used to store his grain in sacks of 100 pounds but today bulk storage is more prominent. According to Bruesewitz some farmers in the 70-mile radius that the Farm Supply deals with, use more than $2500 of feed per month, with an increase of 2;; (200?) percent more grains fed to dairy cattle over the past 35 years.

Asked about the ingredients that are used today compared to the past, he explained that along with the oats, corn, bran, and meal, farmers add protein, vitamins, and minerals to their feed. Most of the protein concentrates that are used at the mill are delivered by train from Minnesota, and Iowa with corn and oats delivered by trucks. It was averaged that the farmer with 40 or 50 head of cattle used four to five tons of feed a week. According to Bruesewitz, the farm supply handles 8,000 ton of protein concentrates and grains a year.

Another interesting fact noted by Bruesewitz, is the fact that pet food is becoming a very good market. He noted that in 1973 the farm supply purchased 25 tons of dog, cat, rabbit, and bird food. He explained that the pet food business is bigger in the United States than dairy business.

Commenting on the present farming situation, Bruesewitz stated that people must become aware of the work that the farm is doing, and the importance of farming. “The farmer doesn’t get his share of pay for all the work he does do, and too many people are not aware of the necessity of the farm. Everyone takes food for granted and is willing to pay more for luxury items that he can do without, but turns around and complains about the price of food, when it is a necessity for life. The farmers have to be understood, and appreciated more that he is.” In the area, it was stated by Bruesewitz, that a great influx of farmers from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan has occurred, and that farms are changing ownership at a rate of approximately 30 a year.

Farmers continuing to improve their farms and feeding programs, and if they didn’t they would operate at a net loss rather than a gain; they know they have to work hard, and spend money to get the maximum benefits in order to remain in the farming profession. The farmer didn’t complain about prices when the price of milk was beneficial to him, but when the price of milk goes down, and other expenses continue to rise, he has a reason to complain,” reflected Bruesewitz.

Advancement in the feeding program has also called for the addition of a large feed mixer, space storage for 250 tons of bulk feed, and loading bins in the farm supply building, most of which was completed last spring. Today the supply uses two bulk trucks, and two pickup trucks for receiving and delivering of bulk feed.

Besides operating the Farm Supply, Bruesewitz is the only active Charter Member of the Spencer Lions Club, and has served many offices in the Club, had served 18 years on the Village Board, served on the original commit for the building of the Spencer School Gym, was the recipient of the first FFA Awards given to the business man at Spencer, served on the county board for one term, and is still an active member of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Spencer, in which he has served many elected offices.

He has been named as a Star Dealer for Doboy Distributor for the past 10 years, and is a member of the independent Dealers Organization of Wisconsin. In his spare time, he enjoys bowling in Spencer, and fishing in the Hayward area, along with spending any extra time in his rose garden, of which his wife states, “It is strictly his garden and I wouldn’t dare to touch one of his 26 Rose plants.” At the present time, he is working on an experimental plan with Jackson Perkins Nursery of Oregon in the rose business.

Commenting on his business and life, Bruesewitz remarked with a sense of pride, “I truly love my work, and the area that I serve. I am very fortunate to have the customers that I do., and my employees are nothing but the best. We try to serve the people of the area to the best of our ability, and feel that we are an asset to the Spencer area, and to Marathon County.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bruesewitz have two children: Mrs. Verlyn (Myrna) Schwantes of Iron Mountain, Michigan, and James, assistant manager of Crocker National Bank in Sun Valley, California. Residing at their home in Spencer, is Walter Bruesewitz, who has been named as Spencer Centennial King. Mrs. Bruesewitz composed the Centennial Song for the up-coming celebration.

Serving 250 farmers in the area, Arnold Bruesewitz is aware of the fact that the farmer is needed by everyone, no matter where they may go.

The farmer is the back bone of America, and for the Spencer area, and Bruesewitz the statement previously written. “The farmer needs us and we need them,” Is nothing more than a straight fact that too many times is just taken for granted.




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