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From the President's Cab: we’re in a “relationships” business
Posted On: April 02, 2024

By John Osterhaus

Greetings from Northwestern Illinois as spring is showing signs of arriving. This past February, I was elected as your new WCO president, and I would like to introduce myself to you. 

My wife Monica and I own and operate Silver Streak Ag Services LLC in Chadwick, Illinois. We do custom forage harvesting in Northern Illinois, and we offer a full line of forage harvesting services, chopping, mowing, baling etc. We started our business with a used round baler and a very used tractor in 2011, and we have been able to grow every year since. We currently have over 70 customers across Northern Illinois, and we also have a short line equipment dealership as part of our business. We sell and service Meyer Manufacturing, Meyers Equipment, and Demco product lines.

One of my personal goals as president this coming year is to focus on helping WCO become more of a regional organization rather than state specific. We have an opportunity with WCO to reach out to operators outside of Wisconsin and have them become a part of our organization. My belief is that the more members we have, the stronger our organization will be.

I have been asked by several potential members why they should join WCO. If had to pick just one word or reason, it would be “relationships”.

Relationships with other operators, vendors, business owners, and manufactures are what make our organization special. We have the opportunity to get to know a select group of people that do this kind of work, be it forage harvesting, manure application, planting etc. By being a member, I have made connections and friendships with other operators that I can call and ask questions when I need help. I also have been able to build relationships with several equipment manufacturers. This allows me to go straight to the source when I have an issue. These relationships are a huge benefit to our businesses.

I recently had the opportunity to visit two different forage harvest crews out of state, one in Southern California and the other in South Georgia. Both crews were in the early stages of spring chopping. In California, they were chopping early alfalfa that had freeze damage, and the Georgia crew was starting triticale harvest. It was very interesting to see how they dealt with in each situation. Many of their struggles were like what we see in the Midwest, but they also had many unique challenges. It was a great opportunity to learn from them, ask tons of questions, and bring some tips and tricks home. I had this opportunity because of the relationships built over the years. I highly recommend visiting a crew either locally or out of state if the chance comes up. 

Spring is coming, I hope you and your crew have a safe and prosperous spring and summer.

– John


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