Need For Feed
Local Business Specializes in Feed Products and Services
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Etna Green is a beautiful blink-and-miss-it town, just inside the border of Kosciusko County. One thing that makes it unique is that no other town in the country shares its name. There are several other aspects of this little town that make it special. It has some special landmarks, including Remembrance Park. Another place of interest is a company located near the park – Hartzell Farm Feed & Supply LLC.
For owners Josh Hartzell and his brothers, this business venture began on their family farm outside of town.
“Me and my brothers decided that we were going to raise hogs,” Hartzell says. “I was just researching an easier, cheaper way to get feed. I was like, ‘What if we buy what we need wholesale, and then sell the excess?’”
The business steadily grew, and when the opportunity arose for the group to buy Etna Elevator (the name most locals and customers still use when referring to the company), they jumped at the chance.
However, the business is not limited to feed for cows, horses, sheep, goats and chickens – the staff also mixes feed for exotic animals like emus and camels. Much of the feed is mixed in-house, but they also sell pre-bagged items like dog and cat food, as well as supplies.
Beyond feed, the company also sells lawn and garden supplies, and they also have wild bird food, which is made in-house.
Since the staff is able to make feed onsite, the business is able to offer clients a rather unique service.
“We’re one of the few places left where you can come and get custom-made feed,” Hartzell says.
This free service is offered to customers in a variety of ways. If the client already has a feed recipe in mind, Hartzell and his team – comprised of his brothers, parents and other longtime employees – can easily fill the order.
However, some orders more complicated and require the expertise of Paul Zahl, a nutrition consultant.
“If someone comes and says, ‘Look, I got some cattle and they’re having this issue,’ we get a hold of the nutritionist and he will come out and take a look at the animals,” Hartzell says. “We have people with show cows who have said that on Paul’s mixes, they’ve gotten the best results that they’ve ever seen.”
The company also offers a bimonthly delivery service to customers living around Bremen, Milford, Nappanee, Plymouth and Warsaw.
“Of course, if they’re local, we’ll deliver just about any day of the week,” Hartzell adds.
All services are available to any customer, no matter how small their farm is.
“There are quite a few places that service real big operations,” Hartzell says. “We’ve got a couple of decent-sized operations, but for the most part we’re the place that all the smaller guys go to. A lot of places say, ‘We’ll make your feed, but you have to order a minimum of 1,000 pounds.’ A lot of these smaller ones can’t do that because the feed will go bad before they can use it all.”
Despite offering a wide variety of services, the company keeps prices down, rivaling or even beating franchise store prices.
“Most of the feeds that come out of here are things where we buy the ingredients in bulk, and we save a lot by doing that so we pass the savings on to the customer,” Hartzell says.
Like many small-town businesses, Hartzell and his team are involved in their community. They provide a location for a farmers market, in response to multiple requests from local gardeners. So far, although the market has remained small, the town has welcomed this activity every Saturday.
“We don’t charge for a space down there,” Hartzell says. “It’s just something that we’re doing so that everybody has something to do on the weekend.”
For Hartzell, who vividly remembers his great-uncle owning the elevator, Hartzell finds fulfillment in continuing the family legacy.
“When I was a kid, I spent almost all my time here,” he recalls. “This is a big portion of my childhood, and now I get to run it.”
Hartzell Farm Feed & Supply LLC is located at 120 North Walnut Street in Etna Green. Learn more about them online at etnaelevator.com. Anyone who wishes to get on their delivery route can call them at 574-202-6490.