Farmers Supply employee to retire

Mary Atkinson · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Farmers Supply Sales, Inc., West Liberty, will soon be losing a familiar face of 28 years.

This Friday, Oct. 4, Carroll Hershberger will say goodbye to the agriculture business once and for all, including all the long-term customers he's developed relationships with over the years.

Hershberger, originally from Kalona, began his career in the business in 1961, working in a Kalona store owned by Warren and Phil Ropp.

Ten years later he  purchased his own farmer supply store in Montezuma, which he eventually sold in 1981.

However, in 1985 he resumed his career under the Ropp brothers once again. They had just bought a West Liberty business from Wayne and Brian Devries and needed the help.

Back then, he recalls the effects of the farming crisis. People just weren't purchasing equipment; however, they were repairing what equipment they already had.

That's what kept him afloat.

The store, originally known as Dittmer-Kerr, was established in the early 1900s, located where Jeff's Market now sits. It was moved to its present location in 1966 by then owner Bobby Brooke, who sold the business to the Ropp brothers in the mid-1980s.

All in all, Hershberger has worked for the Ropps for 38 years.

About seven years ago, Reed McCulloh was hired to co-manage Farmers Supply Sales with Hershberger, allowing Hershberger to semi-retire.

Now that Hershberger is leaving for good, McCulloh believes it'll be quite a challenge to replace the man.

"When you manage a business as long as he has, worked with as many people as he has and been here since the day that Farmers Supply bought this business from the Devries back in the eighties, well, a lot of the customers just know and trust his judgment and rely on him," McCulloh said. "You don't just replace that with another body. That's probably the biggest single challenge."

Owner Phil Ropp of Kalona said Hershberger has been a valued employee. He thanks him for his many years of service.

Hershberger plans to spend his newfound time down South playing a lot of golf.

To all those who would like to wish him well, drop by Farmers Supply store from noon to 5 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 4.
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