American Agricultural Laboratory Inc. extending its reach
McCOOK, Neb. — As farmers worldwide search for ways to limit costs and increase yields, an increasing number are turning to the American Agricultural Laboratory in McCook for soil fertility recommendations.
With the aid of a master agronomist and expanded software, in the past two years the ag lab has increased the number of crops it consults on from 60 to 151. Showing the diversity, American Ag Lab owners Kevin and Christine Grooms said the crop list now ranges alphabetically from almonds to zucchini.
As a result, the company’s client list is also on the rise, with the firm now serving crop producers throughout the United States, Mexico and Central America, as well as agronomy services in eastern Europe.
As an illustration of the dramatic difference that soil testing can make, American Ag Lab’s agronomist, Tyler Gardner, and Kevin Grooms traveled to southern Texas in June to help consult with that region’s crop producers. They found an area with diverse crops — including cotton, peanuts, squash, pumpkins and pickles — and soils high in clay levels and salt content.
The findings confirmed the importance of the scientific approach, with soil testing allowing producers to reduce fertilization with precise applications and — in the process — reduce costs and improve profits.
A key component in American Ag Lab’s service to the ag industry is the addition of Tyler Gardner to the staff. The holder of a master’s degree in soil fertility from Kansas State University, Gardner joined American Ag Lab in February.
Originally from the community of Wamego, located near Manhattan, Tyler said that region’s major crops — wheat, corn and soybeans — are very similar to the farming mainstays in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas.
“Tyler will have a dynamic impact on our company and our customers,” Kevin Grooms said. “He has contributed greatly as an agronomy educator and advisor.”
Soil testing is one of many services provided by American Agricultural Laboratory. In addition, the ag lab in McCook does analysis of drinking water, plant tissue, fertilizer, feed and seed, as well as nematode determination.
The ag lab in McCook was established more than 40 years ago by Bob Olsen. Kevin and Christine Grooms purchased the business 10 years ago. Located originally on East First Street, the firm moved to spacious quarters in the 700 block of West D Street in January of 2016.