Most of you may not know that AGVISE Laboratories is celebrating 40 years of service to our customers this year. AGVISE has a rich history of providing agronomic testing services to customers across North America and even as far away as China!
AGVISE was founded in 1976 by Dr. Ed Lloyd, who was a professor in plant pathology at NDSU in Fargo, ND. Ed saw an opportunity to provide research services to chemical companies for product development and crop consulting programs to area growers. He purchased some land near Northwood, ND for the research business and Jeeps to sample fields for the crop consulting program. In the winter of 76-77 Ed approached me to setup a soil testing lab for his operation. The soil testing laboratory was up and running by the spring of 1977 and I’m still here 39 years later. A second AGVISE location was started in Benson, MN in 1979. As the years went by, AGVISE chose to concentrate on the research and laboratory portion of the business and phase out the crop consulting. Many former AGVISE consultants are some of our best and oldest customers today!
Just after Christmas In December of 1996, a fire destroyed our laboratory in Northwood. It was at that time that AGVISE was split into two companies. The research portion of the company was renamed AGVISE Research and was kept by Ed Lloyd and his sons. The laboratory portion of the business was launched by the employees involved in the testing lab, and was renamed AGVISE Laboratories. AGVISE Laboratories was established as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company, with every full-time employee becoming a partial owner. As the Northwood lab was being rebuilt, our Benson MN laboratory was able to test soil samples normally tested in Northwood. They saved our bacon!
Through this time we added many critical staff members at both our Northwood and Benson locations (too many names to mention!) Many of our employees have now been with AGVISE more than 25 years. In late August of 2007, calamity struck a second time, when an EF-4 tornado leveled our laboratory in Northwood. We again called on the staff of both our labs to help rebuild the lab in Northwood and keep our customers happy by testing all soil samples at our Benson, MN lab for several months. Every employee performed like a superhero as they served our customers and rebuilt the Northwood lab again; a task which seemed impossible at times!
AGVISE continues to grow quickly in the areas of soil and plant analysis. Our annual soil sample volume alone now exceeds 500,000 between both laboratories. The advanced computer technology used in all aspects of our laboratory testing, and the ability to deliver test results through the internet to our customers is quite amazing. This year over 50% of all soil samples will be submitted online (no paper work needed!) and tracked with unique bar-coded reference number stickers. Who would have thought we could come this far in only 40 years!
We would like to thank to all of our customers and especially our loyal employees. With your help and support we will be able to continue serving you for many years to come!