Crew is Ag Businessman of the Year
Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:55pm admin
From humble beginnings, something that many West River South Dakota Ag people sprint from, comes a ranch boy that learned how to succeed from hard work, persistence, honesty and above all, believing in the golden rule!
Grady Crew, a fourth generation rancher, was raised in the Cactus Flat/Interior area on his family ranch. He attended grade school in Interior and Wall and graduated high school in Kadoka in 1976. From there, destiny sent him to South Dakota State University. He not only graduated with two degrees in agriculture business and economics, but also met the love of his life, Bernice Tacke, a farm girl from Utica. They were married in 1978.
In 1984 Grady, Bernice and the rest of the family were all trying to make a living on the ranch. Grady and Bernice started Crew Agency, a crop insurance firm that sold mostly winter wheat coverage. They believed the crop insurance business would be a good way to supplement their income. From his kitchen table, Grady began this business which has grown now to one of the largest crop insurance agencies in South Dakota. The agency now has a total of seven agents, four of who are owners/ partners.
Today the agency provides more than 400 western South Dakota farmers and ranchers with their crop, pasture, forage and livestock price insurance needs. Grady knew when they started Crew Agency that he wanted to provide not only a quality product, but quality service for their clients and friends. By being in the ranching business himself, he knew what others needed. By bringing in like-minded partners and associates, the business has thrived.
Crew Agency is located upstairs in Grady and Bernice’s Badlands Trading Post which is a familiar stop for travelers going through the Badlands National Park. Grady and his family own and operate two seasonal tourist businesses that along with the ranch employ up to 20 people from surrounding agricultural communities.
In the last few years, Grady has stepped back from the crop insurance and tourist business to focus on his true love of ranching and farming. Crew Cattle Company has changed as well since 1984. Keith, Grady’s dad, has retired and unfortunately Shane, Grady’s brother, was killed in a horse accident on the ranch.
Grady’s son, Caleb, is now a managing owner/partner in the ranch and has extensively expanded the feedlot and farming operations. Grady also has a daughter, Jamie Farmen, who is hired as a government relations coordinator for the South Dakota Retailers Association in Pierre.
Grady has served on many boars in the state including a director for Jackson County Soil Conservation District, director of S.D. Wheat Inc., secretary of Midwest Cooperative in Pierre, president of White River Grazing District and president of the Kadoka School Board. He also has been selected several time to participate on crop insurance advisory committees and was selected by U.S. Senator John Thune as one of the 10 who met with the president of the United States, George W. Bush, when he visited Mt. Rushmore during the drought of 2002.
Grady has been an influential part of the Black Hills Stock Show® for many years. Grady has purchased over $200,000 in Charolais bulls over the years and over a dozen horses from the Black Hills Stock Show. Each year Crew Agency purchases tickets for their employees and customers to attend the annual ranch rodeo while sponsoring a team to cheer on.
In recognition to his commitment to the agricultural community in western South Dakota and the Black Hills Stock Show, it is our please to honor Grady Crews as the 2016 Agri-Business Person of the Year.