Windcall Manufacturing (GrainGoat)
With a start-up business and a unique product, Martin and Patricia Bremmer knew they were “sailing some uncharted waters,” so they turned to the consultants at NBDC for guidance.
The Bremmers are the creators of the GrainGoat, a hand-held harvesting and moisture content measuring device that replaces the need to use full-sized harvesting equipment to acquire small amounts of grain for testing.
“Our relationship with NBDC began with the inception of the corporation,” Martin Bremmer says. “Odee Ingersoll at the NBDC office in Kearney was instrumental in providing us guidelines, pointers and milestones we needed to meet.
“Since then, Odee has always been there for us. The expanse of his background is pretty phenomenal. We have never thrown a salvo of questions at him that he couldn’t answer.”
The Bremmers began work on the GrainGoat in 2011 and founded their company, Windcall Manufacturing, two years later. They have received two rounds of private investment funding and one round of state funding.
The Bremmers are assembling GrainGoats and are working with students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s College of Business and Technology to develop a broad marketing and advertising plan.
The GrainGoat is a one-of-a-kind product. It is rooted in the fact that agriculture producers worldwide must know when the time is right to harvest their grain for maximum value. The moisture content of the grain must be within a required range so buyers will accept the seeds, and not so dry to where the seed has begun to shrivel and lose valuable mass. A 2,000-acre wheat crop can lose $2,600 in value a day if the grain is not harvested at optimal moisture.
To determine the proper harvest time, seeds must be gathered from small sections of multiple plots and taken to an elevator or buyer for moisture content testing. This commonly requires the use of full-sized harvest equipment that must be driven to various fields. The distances between these fields may be many miles, and combines move very slowly. Six hours of harvesting for testing costs approximately $800 in equipment value and fuel. Eighteen hours of testing could cost a grower $2,400 or more.
That is why the portable, hand-held GrainGoat shows such incredible potential, Bremmer says.
“We’ve had interactions with several people at the NBDC because there are things we need to know that are right up their alley,” he says. “The organization is tailor-made to answer our questions, and they can reach out to corporate America and cross into government agencies when they need to.”
“It’s a fantastic organization because it has such fantastic people who are always willing to help.”
The Bremmers continue to work with Ingersoll on a regular basis. “He’s the best sounding board we’ve got,” Bremmer says.