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Built on a Name | May/June 2024

By Cheryl Kepes

Photos courtesy Connor Agriscience

Connor Agriscience develops, manufactures, and distributes products created to help cattle producers preserve the quality of their feed.

Ron and Connie Kuber believed so strongly in the mission of their business that they purposefully incorporated their names into their company title. The first three letters of Connie, C-o-n, and Ron’s name spelled backwards, n-o-r, combine to create their company name, Connor Agriscience. The intentionality of the name serves as a constant reminder to the Kubers of their commitment to high standards and excellent customer service.

Connor Agriscience specializes in the manufacture and distribution of products designed to protect stored silage, forages, and grains. The company equally focuses on silage and forage education and safety. “We want to raise the awareness that people should be having more inventory in their feed stores, that it is better quality, and it is safer. You will see that in our ads; more, better, safer and that’s exactly what that means,” Connie Kuber explained.

First Steps

Prior to establishing Connor Agriscience, Ron and Connie held jobs in different aspects of large animal agriculture. After graduating from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, Ron started building his sales, marketing, and consulting career with companies in the animal health and feed sector. Following graduation from the University of Minnesota, Connie leveraged her agriculture journalism degree to secure a job in California promoting genetics for World-Wide Sires.

Ron and Connie’s paths first crossed at the World Dairy Expo in 1981. The two were married in 1983. In the years to follow, the Kubers started a family. When their first child was born, Connie transitioned her career to a freelance writer position contributing primarily to dairy publications.

As the years passed, the opportunities for Ron to advance in his occupation required extensive travel which meant long stints away from the growing Kuber family. It was at this point, when the Kubers were in the trenches of parenthood, that they decided it was time for a change.

“Our three children were growing up and we were looking for something that would fit our skill set with what we wanted to do while raising our family,” Ron Kuber shared. “Just like a lot of family farms and cow/calf and stocker operations, that family consideration I think is an integral part of the decision process.”

Leaning on commitment to family as their motivation, the Kubers started Connor Agriscience headquartered in Clovis, California, in 1995.

New Venture

The Kubers decided to explore areas in their wheelhouse to serve as the backbone of Connor Agriscience’s business. They searched for specialty products within the agriculture industry in need of manufacturer reps, sales agents, or distributors. The new line of work consisted of marketing products primarily used in the dairy industry such as oral calcium drenches and inoculants. The Kubers also forged business connections and acquired knowledge in the arena of silage and fermented feeds.

Their new business ventures created opportunities to enrich their understanding of agriculture related products and to form relationships with industry experts. The Kubers cultivated their scientific knowledge regarding the production and management of forages from world-renowned researchers Dr. Limin Kung, Dr. Bob Charley, and Dr. Keith Bolsen.

In 2006, Ron and Connie came across a product at the Word Dairy Expo that lit a new flame of excitement in their entrepreneurial spirits. They discovered an oxygen barrier film designed to cover silage piles and bunkers. The goal of the product was to reduce spoilage and protect the farmer’s investment.

The Kubers jumped in and represented the company responsible for manufacturing and distributing the plastic oxygen barrier. They worked for years to introduce the product to producers in the United States and other parts of the world. Through their time marketing the product, Ron and Connie developed a passion for educating farmers about the benefits of proper silage harvest, storage, and safety.

On Their Own

All was well with Connor Agriscience and its clients. The work to spread information and promote the plastic oxygen barrier film for silage piles and bunkers had taken off over the past decade. However, in 2014, the company manufacturing and distributing the oxygen barrier film changed leadership. The new management wanted to relocate the manufacturing facility from its original location in Italy.

The recommendation to change manufacturers failed to align with the Kubers’ standards. The Kubers had literally and figuratively built the reputation of Connor Agriscience on their names, and they were troubled by the new direction. “We knew enough by then that plastics manufacturers are not all the same, plastic quality is not all the same; therefore, the results would not be the same,” Connie said. “Assuring our customers received the same or better quality than what they had been getting was critical.”

At this point in their career journey the Kubers had perfected the skill of adapting and pivoting when needed. Thus, Connor Agriscience took on the task of developing its own silage oxygen barrier film. “Because we built our business on our name, we chose to found our own brand called Sealpro®. We chose our own manufacturing and wrote our own specifications for how much strength and oxygen barrier protection our films had,” Connie stated.

Sealpro® Development

To most people, plastic pretty much looks the same. But when Ron and Connie check out plastic for their products, they test, observe, and search for specifications and uniformity few people would ever consider. The couple developed their signature silage protection product, Sealpro®, with an industry leading ability to keep oxygen out and nutrients in.

Connor Agriscience developed a line of Sealpro® oxygen barrier film products to meet farmers’ different budgets and silage quality goals. The viability of Connor Agriscience’s products is tested by the manufacturer and verified by a third-party lab to ensure quality and results. They provide Coverpro®, a black/white non-barrier film that must be used with the traditional barrier films for UV protection, and can be used by itself as well. These films are also available in a co-rolled form, both films rolled on the same reel.

“The newest oxygen barrier, Sealpro ONE™, is a single layer film combining high level barrier with 6 mil strength. This film and the co-rolled option are the result of listening to our customers,” Ron said.

The company recently launched a new product line. The Flortex® products are made from UV-resistant polypropylene and are designed to cover and protect bales and silage bunkers and piles. The bale protection is a thinner version that’s breathable, water resistant, and can be put on from the ground. The silage covers are thicker, safer to walk on, and eliminate the need for tires except around the perimeter and over the top of the face. The Flortex® products come in several sizes with accessories for connecting and securing them.

The Kubers are particularly excited about the fact the Flortex® products are reusable. “It fits in well with the sustainability goals the industry is looking at from the standpoint of having something you can reuse effectively and do a better job with than something with a one-off use,” Ron said.

All of the company’s products are currently manufactured in Europe. The company operates three distribution warehouses: two in California and one in Kansas. Additionally, Connor Agriscience has distribution relationships throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico to market its products.

Education and Safety

Through the years, the Kubers’ interest and expertise has evolved to include a focus on helping farmers perfect silage management practices. Farmers invest too much time, money, and energy into producing feed to endure significant losses from spoilage.

Though Connor Agriscience’s Sealpro® and other products work to reduce nutrient loss in silage, the steps to getting a good crop starts with solid harvest strategies. The Kubers educate farmers about the importance of ensuring proper chop length, pile size and location, packing density as well as other steps prior to applying an oxygen barrier.

“If you have other issues before you put the sealing material on, Sealpro® is not going to fix the wrong chop length, it’s not going to fix a poor packing density, and it’s not going to fix some of these other factors that go into making an efficient silage storage situation,” Ron explained. Good harvest practices combined with strategic storage solutions can decrease the percentage of forage loss over time.

One of the most important components in silage management is safety. Working around silage piles and bunkers can be dangerous, even deadly. “We have tried to make safety as big of a part of our message as the education. Silage that is efficient is safe. All these things just go hand and hand,” Connie stated.

The company offers silage safety videos, online resources, and an educational coloring book. Connie and Ron are frequent guests at conferences, meetings, and webinars to promote silage safety.

Looking Ahead

The Kubers’ daughter, Madeline, recently joined the company after graduating from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. She assumed the role of controller, managing the company’s financials, shipping, and logistics. The addition of Madeline to the team allows Ron to focus more on consulting, sales, and product development and gives Connie more time for marketing and education.

The Kubers are currently working to expand their presence in the beef industry. “We want everyone to succeed, and education is the key,” Connie said. “I think that beef producers, whether they are cow/calf or stockers or feedlot people, understand that feed is a place where they can save some money, they can have more inventory, and their cattle will do better when they are fed a better ration of higher quality feed.”

The Kubers find great reward in helping farmers and ranchers get the most benefit out of their crops and forages. Whether it’s a cattle operation of 50 or 50,000, the goal remains the same. “There is satisfaction for all of us, not just us but the farmer and the rancher also, for making efficient use of all of the inputs that they invest in. The less you can waste is best. That’s what we try to do; we try to help people make more, better, and safer feed and that only benefits everyone,” Connie concluded.

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