Tom and Stephanie Borgen were in San Antonio for an erosion control conference earlier this spring, and that’s where they ran into Pacific Ag’s CEO Bill Levy and general manager Eddie Rowe. Tom and Stephanie were already familiar with Pacific Ag, as part of their family business involves selling wheat straw and manufacturing erosion control products. Pacific Ag knew about Tom and Stephanie as well.
The four talked, and by the end of the conference, agreed they should be working together.
“We knew about Pacific Ag because they’d come into our region to harvest crop residue the previous summer,” Tom said. “We learned so much when we met with them at the conference. They’ve done what we envisioned to do for ourselves,” he said. “They’re good guys from family farms and they have strong ag backgrounds,” Tom said. “They know what they’re doing in business, but aren’t Fortune 500 types,” he explained. “We ‘straw guys’ are a rare breed—typically down-to-earth people you can sit down and talk with,” he added.
According to the couple, response from growers about Pacific Ag’s presence in the region has been positive. “They’re excited to work with local neighbors like us,” Tom said. “We’ve already done some sign-ups.”
Tom and Stephanie live and work on the land (and in the house) his grandfather once owned. “It’s the house I grew up in,” Tom said. Tom has been farming since he was a sophomore in high school, and the couple has been in the straw business for about 13 years. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets, and bale up to 11,000 tons of straw per year. Their erosion control products are distributed throughout the upper Midwest.
Tom and Stephanie have three children at home, with the oldest about to graduate from high school. “During the school year, you can usually find us in a gymnasium,” Stephanie said. “Tom also does a lot of coaching,” she added.
Prior to joining Pacific Ag, Stephanie was a practicing attorney. Over the years she wanted to spend more of her time working at home, and served in various capacities on the farm. Currently, she balances her work on the farm with taking care of the couple’s three children, managing a van service that she owns, and helping to operate Pacific Ag’s North Dakota office.
“We both like the variety,” Stephanie said. “Our work is steady throughout the year, but during straw season (July to September), it’s a whole different kind of busy,” she said.