Manufacturing Alfalfa Products Since 1974
Copyright 1999 Cross Alfalfa Products PO Box 187 Lewis, KS 67552 (620) 324 - 5571
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Cross Alfalfa Products Entrepreneur,
James W. "Jim" Adair
Adair Acknowledges 25 Years
Article printed February 11, 1999
"Edwards County Sentinel" Lewis KS,
used with permission.
Even though Cross Alfalfa has been in business for over 40 years, the business has been owned by Jim Adair for 25 years. "When I bought the business we decided to leave the name, Cross Alfalfa, because my name wasn't known around here and the name of W. A. Cross was well known in the industry as well as in the area," said Adair. "In that year we began producing sun-cured alfalfa pellets for feedlots."
Adair, whose family background was in the cafeteria business, bought Cross Feed Mill from W. A. Cross in December of 1973. "In 1972 I actually came up here to work for two weeks on a project with some friends," said Adair. "We were going to establish 38 pivot irrigation locations. When I got here I liked the area and never left even though I had connections in Oklahoma."
In 1960, Adair had built Expressway Airpark in Oklahoma City. "From 1960 I owned and operated the airport, a lot of the time it was leased out," said Adair, "then this last year, I sold it." "When I first bought the plant, there was one employee, now we employ 20 people and our payroll is around $10,000 a week," said Adair. "I had to learn the business from the ground up, because I didn't know a thing about the alfalfa business."
From 1973-1981, Adair opened and operated two other feed mill locations. In 1975, Cross Alfalfa began grinding and delivering chopped alfalfa hay to Braum's Dairy and other feedlot and dairy locations. "I'm proud of the fact that in an industry that is declining, we are able to grow," said Adair. "I think it is because we have gone after the smaller consumers and business. We are more personally involved with our customers and we now do quite a bit of retail business."
"I am also very proud of the fact that almost all of our income comes into this county from somewhere else," said Adair.
The Lewis plant was enlarged in 1986 and full ration feed for cattle, horses, and other animals were added. "We have made pellets for Ostriches and Emus," said Adair, "but our biggest income derives from the cattle industry." Along with the expansion in 1986, a retail feed store was opened in Oklahoma City.
Most of the product from Cross Alfalfa is sold in bulk. Because of this there are four semi's on the road at all times. "We have four tractors and 15 trailers," said Adair. "Trailers are being loaded here when the filled semis are on the road." Fifteen percent of Cross' sales are bag product. There is a small storage area at the plant for the bagged feed.
A new office was built in 1979 on US50 just. north and a little west of the existing plant. At that time, Cross Alfalfa also began using computers. "Computers run everything now." said Adair.
The plant runs 20 hours a day with two mills mixing ingredients to produce the right balance of nutrition in the feed. On site with each mill is a filter to keep dust from getting into the air from the mixing process. "In the 25 years I've been in business here, we've never had a Workman's Comp claim even though we work with equipment which could potentially be dangerous," said Adair. "We are very safety minded."
A retail store in Woodward Oklahoma was added in 1996. Early in 1998, a new scale was built next to the mechanics shop. "We do all of our own mechanical work," said Adair. "We maintain all of our own equipment and have a fully stocked mechanic shop. It's a kind of nerve center around here, without it we might have delays that we don't have now."
When asked about employee turn-over Adair said, "We have very little turn-over here. Most of my employees have been with me for a long time. For example, Ann Derley runs the office and she's been with me for or 12 years, Tony Morales runs the plant and he's been here for 17 years, and Terry Powers runs the mechanic's shop and he's been here for 15 years." Along with his human employees, Adair has four cats. Two work as 'mousers' in the mechanic's shop and two are in the plant.
Besides running the alfalfa business, Adair is a family man. He is the father of four children and grandfather of six. His wife, Susan, teaches at COTH bible college in Oklahoma City.
End of Article.