Ernst visits Plantpeddler
Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:47am admin
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
CRESCO - “This has been a pretty good week,” said Plantpeddler co-owner Mike Gooder. “Sen. Charles Grassley came on Monday [Aug. 31], and Sen. Joni Ernst came to Plantpeddler today [Wednesday, Sept. 2]. I feel honored that we can get people like that to come here.”
Ernst was given a tour of the new $3.1 million expansion of the facility by Gooder, his wife Rachel and son John. All three have helped build this million-dollar business that employs 100 during the busy seasons.
She was very interested in hearing the history of the business and how it has grown over the years. Ernst also learned about the products Plantpeddler produces.
“We told her who our customers are and how deeply embedded in agriculture we are,” Mike said.
Ernst understands agriculture. She grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa and is on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and chair of the Rural Development and Energy subcommittee.
During her visit, Mike discussed with her the parallels of the greenhouse industry to the confinement livestock industry, which she knows intimately with her background rooted in Iowa agriculture. “Our industry plays a much bigger role in agriculture than most people realize.”
He is proud of the fact that 10-12 of their employees are Iowa State graduates, as well as other colleges. “One-third of our staff have secondary education. We’ve been able to track and retain good people who are part of our team. Many of them are local kids. They are the best staff. They understand rural values. Others who come here can’t adapt.”
Mike and Rachel met with Ernst at her office in Washington, D.C. last fall advocating for the horticulture industry.
The couple explained they will be putting in some automation at their local facility sometime this fall, which will help in boosting their production capabilities.
“She enjoyed herself and was excited to get to know the business,” Mike said. “We’re fortunate to have good senators working for us.”
Ernst was joined by three Iowa legislators, Senator Waylon Brown and Representatives Jane Bloomingdale and Michael Bergen.
Besides the Ag Committee, she belongs to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.