Steve Raska operates Ag Trucks & Equipment outside of Great Falls. His company started in 2005, providing custom dry and liquid application equipment, made in the U.S.
He said he and his colleagues believed customers would respond to a company that would build the machinery that fit their conditions and needs, and he couldn't be more correct.
Raska said, "We started out building truck mounted agricultural sprayers, and then that evolved into this chassis, which is four-wheel drive, mechanical drive, front and rear diff lock, but it has a very large capacity tank, and we build the largest spray systems in North America here in Fife, Montana."
Machines are built using generic and domestic parts, where the customer doesn't have to rely on the dealer. Raska said their niche is the large capacity and components.
"We've sold so many truck sprayers, we never hear from those people again because they take care of their own parts and repair needs," Raska said.
Like any other business, Raska said one of the main things they emphasize is customer satisfaction. More importantly, it is building equipment that lasts long-term. Raska noted that nearly all equipment that has been built over the last 15 years is still with the original owners.
"The chassis and machine are simple, but then we put up to $100,000 into precision Ag and GPS equipment on there. This machine has autosteer, autoboom height control, so that the accuracy is the best you can get.
Raska added that while prices for the machine are just as equal as competition, he says they offer a 400%-increase usable lifespan for their machines.
"This (machine) is an 8 or 10-thousand hours in-the-field machine, where a lot of the others are 15 to 25-hundred. Our machine lasts longer and parts are always available for it because they're offered over-the-counter."
Raska mentioned that the AG TRK 430 chassis has the durability that allows the ability to carry large capacity and long boom lengths in the prairies as well as the ability to climb steep hills.
Ag Trucks & Equipment currently operates in the western parts of the region - mostly in Montana, but they also serve parts of Oregon, and Idaho. About 2/3rds of the machines going to Eastern Washington in what they call the Palouse Region.
Raska said, "These things will climb a tree if the bark doesn't slip. They're very dependable. They climb hills better than anything and that's the number one requirement in Washington."
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