One could say that Cory Oberlander was born with a passion for agriculture. Growing up in Casselton, ND, Cory fell in love that “small town farming” feel. With a small business owner as a dad, and this passion for agriculture, it’s fitting that, one day, Cory would open Agveris – a small business of his own – to follow his father’s footsteps as well as work in the industry he knows and loves.
With over 20 years of experience in the agriculture industry, mostly working for other companies, the idea for Agveris just sort of came to him. “I saw a need to really fine-turn the soil fertility and fertilizer process that farmers were utilizing in the upper Midwest, so I took a chance and started my own company,” explained Cory. That was almost 8 years ago, and he’s never looked back.
Cory’s initial vision for Agveris was to “work with highly progressive farmers in the Midwest to help them maximize their return on investment on soil fertility and fertilizers.” This is why Cory classifies Agveris as a niche company, as it focuses primarily on soil fertility recommendations, soil sampling, precision mapping, and variable rate prescriptions. By creating precise nutrient management programs, Agveris helps farmers save time and money and prevents them from the under/over application of nutrients. Later, they added variable rate technology to precisely apply nutrients and seeds, allowing farmers to maximize efficiency, yield, and profit.
Agveris uses state-of-the-art technology to service their customers around the Midwest region. From drones, complex and advanced fertility algorithms, and variable-rate application programs, Agveris can make fertilizer and seed recommendations and revisions from their office chair.
“With the rapid adaptation of technology in the ag industry, we have the ability to adjust or recalibrate the amount of product growers are putting on their fields to maximize profitability. We have clients all over the United States and we can change their prescriptions while they’re out in the field from our office instantaneously.”
Originally, Agveris’ first office was located in West Fargo, with its employees living in West Fargo and rural Cass County, ND. This is when the idea of opening an office in Casselton and moving back to his home town first came to Cory. However, he was caught off guard by the high down payments required on commercial real estate, creating a huge financial obstacle in Agveris’ expansion plan. It wasn’t until the SBA 504 small business loan from Dakota Business Lending came into play that Cory saw that this expansion could become a reality. This small business loan provided Agveris with a 10% down payment, making the expansion more affordable. “Having that ability of 10% down really gave us the ability to move into the process and keep capital on hand to run the business,” Cory explained. “Without that ability, we would have never been able to go into a commercial building.”
“Dakota Business Lending has determination and dedication to get the job done, and the team is relentless at seeing the project finalized.”
Cory’s favorite part of Agveris’ new commercial building is being back in the small-town community he knows and loves. This move opened Cory’s eyes for a deeper appreciation of the small-town business district grew up in and sparked in him a desire to give back to the community with his business. “After I moved back, I found out what it really meant to give back to the community…to try to make the community better through volunteering and giving back,” shared Cory. “This has been extremely gratifying for my wife and family as we have been able to volunteer and donate to various cases in town and better the community of Casselton.” From teaching classes for high school students on entrepreneurship and the agricultural industry, to giving to the local FFA chapter and other organizations, to donating to the new high school for a new research greenhouse, and allowing other organizations use their facility for various fundraisers throughout the year, Agveris seeks unique ways in which they can give back in a way that has an impact.
When asked to share a piece of advice for those who wish to start or expand their own business, Cory offered a warning instead: it’s not easy.
“Expanding or starting your own business is not for the faint of heart,” Cory advised. “It is unnerving; it takes a leap of faith; it’s a lot of hard work; but if you’re wiling to do that…it’s extremely rewarding.”