Larry Beck is quickly getting adjusted to his second story corner office of the newly opened corporate location of Mid Valley Agriculture Services, Inc. (MVAS) on the southeast side of Oakdale.
It was a big and some may say overdo move as the co-founder and President of MVAS brought his team from a home converted to office space on eight acres in Linden to the 14 acres in Oakdale, complete with 7,000 square foot retail agriculture hardware store, BG Agri-Sales.
“Oakdale is a great community and we look forward to continuing to grow our business in the surrounding area,” Beck told a crowd of 600-plus growers, vendors and guests earlier this month at the site’s Grand Opening event. “Our success over the past 30 years has been a direct reflection of our people and their service.”
MVAS was co-founded by Beck 32 years ago in Linden. To date they employ over 200 persons in seven locations, three of which also host BG Agri-Sales and Service stores. The MVAS team has a variety of knowledge in the area of ag services for the small farmer to the one hosting a thousand acres in orchards. Over 50 licensed Pest Control Advisors (PCA) and Certified Crop Advisors call on farmers, growers and the like from north of Sacramento to south of Fresno.
“Oakdale is probably the center of our sales territory,” Beck said. “We outgrew Linden. We started there in a warehouse 32 years ago and then moved the office to the house (on the property) and we outgrew the house.
“The actual building took about a year,” he said of the new location. “By the time we got moved in, a year and a half.”
Agriculture and farming is in his blood, growing up in Hughson to a father and four uncles who were actively involved in the trade. Beck majored in Agriculture at Fresno State. What makes his business successful however, he attributes to both passion and people.
“We’ve tried to have a family atmosphere,” Beck said of the company philosophy, “and treat our people as we would like to be treated. We think it’s a fun place to work. We have very little turnover and offer our people opportunity to grow with the company.
“We have an intern program every summer,” he continued. “We have close to 30 interns that work with our PCA’s. They have to be hard workers. This business is a lot of long hours, especially in the summer.”
Beck noted a summer day can begin as early as 6:30 a.m. for his team and not conclude until as late as 7 at night, noting that as farmers and growers are awake and working, so too are he and his team.
“I’d like to say that we’re kind of the equivalent to a doctor,” he said. “We go out and visit them (farmers) and recommend what is healthy for their field. When the trees start to bloom, we go to work. It’s a lot of long hours, but obviously they’re rewarded.”
MVAS has a base in excess of 2500 customers. They are ranked 24th in the United States. Beck added he feels they are probably among the Top 5 as an independent dealer, which offers them great flexibility for their customers.
“The farming community is very tight,” Beck said. “I can’t express enough it’s a people business. Farmers are caring people and if you treat them right … well, it’s why we’ve been successful.”
The co-founder admitted the growth of the business from staff size to current location is one not even he saw coming, however, given his team he is not surprised.
“I always felt and had enough confidence that we were doing the right thing and would attract the right people,” he summarized. “Is it bigger than I thought it would become? ... Yes. We’ve surpassed four times what I’d envisioned. I always felt we had the talent and the people to succeed.
“There’s a lot of joy and self-pride in building a big business,” he concluded. “It’s been fun. It’s been fun watching the people come up through the ranks and see what they’re able to achieve.”
The new MVAS location along with its full service store BG Agri-Sales and Service is at 5225 Oakdale-Waterford Highway, Oakdale.