LINCOLN, Neb. – Feb. 12, 2018 — Russell and Kendra Hoagland own and operate a small farm and ranch operation southeast of Hastings, Nebraska. As they reflect back on the last 18 years in the business, it’s the relationships with the people they work with that stands out. Like many Nebraskans, they know that it’s the personal connections that come with years of working together and problem solving that lead to the greatest success.
Todd King, agriculture key account representative for Black Hills Energy Distribution, is one of those relationships. A native of Wood River, King knows the ag business and specializes in energy, sharing his expertise at annual Ag Choice Gas meetings.
“Todd has been an amazing person. We met him when we first starting farming. He has helped us with our motors and he has been really good at servicing our stuff for us,” shared Kendra. “We didn’t really know about the Ag Choice meetings until he told us about them, but we haven’t missed one since then.”
Each year Black Hills Energy Distribution holds local ag choice gas meetings to give its 8,000 Nebraska agricultural customers a chance to meet with several of the Choice Gas Ag marketers and attend educational sessions as they prepare for the coming growing season. Sessions included spring irrigation gas check and tune up tips, dual fuel kit and rebates sessions, as well as an engine automation technology demonstration.
The Hoaglands believe the meetings are great opportunity to learn about the programs the natural gas utility offers for its ag customers. “We like that we can have a personal relationship with the people at those meetings. We also like having a place where we can sit down and see what the prices are and be able to ask questions,” said Kendra. “We always have a lot of questions and they take time to make sure they are answered.”
The folks at Black Hills like it, too. “It is a great time to get out and meet with our customers to provide them with energy saving solutions. It also helps us to stay connected with our customers to make sure we are meeting their needs to the best of our ability. The meetings also provide a great opportunity for our customers to meet with the different gas marketers on our system to see what price option each offers to best meet their needs.” states King.
At the end of the day, the Hoagland’s say they feel like they are able to make the best decision on an energy choice that will best benefit their bottom line. It’s a decision they say is important in times like these.
“We chose natural gas because it is an inexpensive option that was easy to access. We can also use it with diesel to provide a dual fuel option,” said Hoagland. These decisions come easier from the personal connection Black Hills Energy Distribution provides. The dual fuel kit allowed them to be more efficient without buying another motor. And when they had to build a new gas line, Black Hills Energy Distribution was there to offer a rebate.
The Hoaglands encourage new ag producers to take time to get involved with the Ag Choice meetings. “The meeting is huge benefit for new farmers if they would attend these meetings. Every penny counts, so we like to be at the meetings doing the comparison for the best deal for our bottom line.”
The Black Hills Energy Distribution system allows customers to choose one of five suppliers for their Nebraska Ag Choice Gas supplier. By having an unbundled system it slows flexibility for the different marketers to price the gas in ways that best suit the individual customer’s needs. Regardless of the supplier, your gas will still be delivered by Black Hills Energy Distribution and your bill will still come from Black Hills Energy Distribution. The suppliers for the 2018 Ag Choice Gas selection period are Vista Energy Marketing, Centerpoint Energy Services, Wood River Energy, Constellation Energy and Black Hills Energy Services. The Nebraska Ag Choice Gas enrollment runs from February 2 to February 22, 2018. You can find more information by visiting blackhillsenergy.com/agchoicegas or calling 877-245-3506.