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Published September 02, 2014, 11:48 AM

Executives ready for Big Iron

FARGO, N.D. — When it comes to spraying, at least one company wants you to think Fast. Cody Fast is chief financial officer of Fast Manufacturing Inc. in Mountain Lake, Minn. The company will display its wares at Big Iron Sept. 9 to 11 at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, N.D.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — When it comes to spraying, at least one company wants you to think Fast.

Cody Fast is chief financial officer of Fast Manufacturing Inc. in Mountain Lake, Minn. The company will display its wares at Big Iron Sept. 9 to 11 at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, N.D.

And it’s a classic Big Iron farm family story.

Fast Manufacturing was started in 1990 by farmers Verlyn and Nancy Fast, who still own the company. Cody and his brother, Brandon, are also in the business. The company says 75 percent of its 100 employees have been or are directly involved in farming operations.

As the company fable goes, in 1988, Verlyn built a flat-fold sprayer for his own use.

“Some of the neighbors saw it, and the next year I think he made two or three more to sell and it’s been developed into what it is today,” Cody says.

Products

The company’s two main products are pull-type sprayers and liquid fertilizer applicators. Sprayers start with 500-gallon tanks with a 45-foot boom and the largest is a 2,400-gallon tank and a 132-foot boom.

“We try to make sure our main dimensions involved with our product are going to make the most sense and keep the most money in farmers’ pockets,” Cody says.

Fast promotes a design that minimizes crop damage.

“We take a lot of pride in our boom ride, so farmers don’t have to worry about where their boom is dipping down in the crop as they go through the field,” Cody says.

In the past five years, the company has seen the most growth with its side-dressing liquid applicators.

“You inject the 28 percent nitrogen products right into the soil,” Cody says. “The practice has grown because you have split application of nitrogen. You can put some on before you plant, and then give a shot of nitrogen to your corn, and you also use it in wheat right before the high-growth stage.”

Fast says studies show side-dressing is most effective at the three- and eight-leaf corn stage, right before the high-growth stage.

The company also makes liquid fertilizer applicators, which is the tool for side-dressing. Tank sizes range from 1,050 gallons to 2,400-gallons, with tool bars 30 to 90 feet long. The longest tool bar was introduced in 2011 and is one of the few on the market that wide.

Manufacturing move

In early July, the company opened a new, 144,000-square-foot manufacturing facility north of Windom, Minn., on U.S. Highway 71. It moved in an automated, powder-coat paint process and assembly functions first. A second phase is scheduled for mid-September, including raw material through welding and fabrication.

“We’ll have 65 to 70 employees in that location,” Cody says.

The company has ramped up employees in the past two years, going from roughly 60 to 100. Over-the-counter parts will still be based in Mountain Lake, as well as engineering, prototyping and most administrative staff.

Fast sells through the Upper Midwest — North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. It has a sales and over-the-counter parts location in Gilman, Ill., which services Fast dealers east of the Mississippi River.

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