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Mid-South Ag Equipment

About Us

 

These days the Company you keep is more important than ever.  Accordingly, our company mission statement remains simple and has not wavered since our humble beginning in 1985…

 

"To provide quality equipment at a competitive price, along with the highest level of service support in the industry"

 

No such mission can be accomplished without the dedication and commitment from an experienced staff who is eager to serve you. If you are currently one of our valued customers, then you know about our skilled management team, accomplished staff, aggressive competitive pricing, along with our unsurpassed service offerings.  However, If you are just now finding us, all we ask is for the opportunity to serve you once…if we do not earn your respect from the beginning, then we do not deserve your business. Here at Mid-South Ag Equipment, we know solidarity and teamwork are essentials in any successful business; although our employee base has increased throughout the years, one crucial aspect still remains constant…We are a family.

 

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What we do...

Mid-South Ag is the complete crop application and agricultural equipment dealer needed to help produce America's meals and build America's foundations. Mid-South Ag has the sales, service and parts responsibilities for the Case IH Agricultural brand, catering to the Byhalia, Clarksdale, Sumner and Tunica, MS trade areas.  Likewise, MSA is a distributor of Case IH Application Equipment, focusing on the custom commercial applicator, located within the seven mid-south states; including the Owensboro, KY location, which primarily focuses on the distribution of pull-type applicators and three point toolbars. 

 

The Story

I.  HARD WORK and a PURPOSE…

Gary Reid, a Memphis, TN native, graduated from Wooddale High School in 1974, followed by a brief,  one year term at The University of Memphis (formally Memphis State University), before entering into the Agricultural Industry.  Like many others during that time, he soon realized paying the bills trumped following his dream of attending a University, and with that, Gary began working as the parts manager for Norwood Sales Company, in 1978.  Norwood Sales was a small operation, employing a staff of only five, which represented Tyler Industries, a company focused on manufacturing pull type fertilizer spreaders and fertilizer tending equipment.  It was there that Gary quickly recognized his desire to work within the Ag Industry.  

 

Soon after, however, Norwood Sales was bought by Tyler Industries, becoming a Tyler company owned store, in 1981.  Not long after, in 1982, Tyler Equipment purchased and built a brand new 5,000 sq. ft. facility in Memphis, TN, and Gary Reid was offered the position of territory sales representative for the new store... he accepted. This afforded Gary the opportunity to begin directly calling on current and potential customers throughout his territory. 

 

Nonetheless, just three years later, the once hopeful Tyler Company Store found itself in the midst of a drastic decline, causing Tyler Corporate to do more than just take notice.  Unbeknownst to Gary and his colleagues, representatives from Tyler Corporate in Benson, MN, had already boarded a plane bound for Memphis, TN. A short time after their arrival, every single employee had been unexpectedly released of his duties, save for Gary Reid and the store’s secretary, Sylvia Jackson.  It was then that Gary was left with a decision that would most certainly change his life, forever.

 

II. A CHANCE OPPORTUNITY

Gary Reid was given a choice that day the corporate bigwigs from Tyler Industries suddenly showed up at the Tyler store in Memphis, TN… and it came directly from Mr. Ivan Bowen, the president of Tyler Industries: Either lock the doors and go home or accept Mr. Bowen’s offer to run the store.  At 27 years old, with now just 5 years’ experience in the Agricultural Industry, Gary went with his “gut,” and accepted the offer to run the store. Gary and Sylvia were the only remaining employees; therefore, he and Sylvia shared the responsibilities of shipping out parts’ orders on a daily basis.  However, when Gary was on the road calling on new customers, Sylvia would stay behind and run the store in his absence.

 

By 1985, the business had finally stabilized, with an increase in volume to $750,000.00, annually.  This was a turning point, as it was becoming apparent the customers not only believed in the equipment they were purchasing, but more importantly, they believed in Gary and Sylvia.

 

III. A NEW COMPANY is FORMED; A NEW FRIENDSHIP FORGED…

Nearing the end of 1985, the steady increase in volume prompted Gary to begin the first of many discussions between Mr. Ivan Bowen (the owner of Tyler Industries) and himself, regarding a purchase option of the Tyler Company owned store.  Around the same time, Gary hired Butch Graven, a field salesman, to help grow both the size of the territory, as well as the store’s customer base.  Although the store’s volume was steadily increasing; it took nearly a year of negotiations and lengthy discussions before Gary was able to secure and facilitate an operating line of credit  with a local bank in Memphis, TN.  With Mr. Bowens’ blessing, just five employees, and over one million in annual sales; Gary completed the purchase of the operation from Tyler Industries, and a new company was established:  Mid-South Ag Equipment, Inc.

 

IV. PLANNING, GROWING and WEARING MANY HATS…

By late 1986, Mid-South Ag Equipment was on its way, prepping for the kind of success only the most dedicated and ambitious leaders can imagine.  New employees were hired on each year, the customer base continued to increase and a 2500 sq. ft. service shop was added to the rear of the building.  This shop would become the foundation for growth and remain an essential aspect of our business model, even today: “Servicing the customer.”   A camaraderie began to form as new employees were hired on and the current employees stepped up, taking on new leadership roles.  As the employee dynamic changed, Gary made sure to instill and abide by one important belief:  All MSA employees are equally important and vital to the success of the company. 

 

Almost nine years passed before Gary and Mid-South Ag would face its first significant challenge since its inception in 1985.  In the meantime, MSA remained focused, growing steadily but gradually, laying down its roots while investing and then re-investing in itself and its employees.  This time was spent working toward the goal of positioning itself to hopefully becoming a permanent fixture in the Agricultural Industry.

 

V. MOVING ON UP…

In 1995, MSA acquired property in Memphis, TN, and began the process of building its very first facility. This was an 18,000.00 sq. ft. building and included close to 1800 sq. ft. of office space to house its employee base of twenty and growing.  MSA had now become fully engaged in the sales and service of self-propelled application equipment, with “sprayers and floaters” becoming the core business.  With a gross sales that now exceeded ten million annually and field service becoming a major component in gaining market share,  MSA’s service offering began working its way to becoming the top offering in its territory.

 

VI. CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE…

A few short years later, in 1998, Mr. Ivan Bowen made the decision to sell the Tyler Industries Application product line to CNH (Case New Holland).  Although MSA was not and had never been a Case IH dealer, the key players at CNH had taken notice of MSA’s consistent growth over the past 13 years, and MSA was offered the Application Distribution contract covering the mid-south states… in true fashion, Gary accepted. 

 

Along with the mid-south states, in 1999, MSA was also offered the Application contract for Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.  This contract initiated the formation of a subsidiary company of Mid-South Ag Equipment, titled Southeast Ag Equipment, Inc.   New sales and service personnel were hired for Southeast Ag and this company would ultimately grow fivefold, going from two million in annual sales to ten million in annual sales, over the following nine years.

 

As time progressed, MSA’s customer base continued to grow; however, the foundation of the company never wavered from its original beliefs: “offering the highest level of service support in our industry.”  Similarly, the employee base continued to increase, as well. Yet, Gary continued to instill his belief that all employees are equal and just as important as his/her colleagues.  Although MSA was certainly a business; and becoming a successful one at that; Gary ensured that MSA’s culture continued to remain a family at its core. 

 

VII. MOVING ON UP- (rather Southeast, to be precise)…

As time ticked on and MSA’s employee base continued to grow; it became evident that more space was needed… really evident.  That said, in 2004, MSA acquired ten acres of property in Marshall County Mississippi, with the intentions of building what would be considered a 50,000 sq. ft. “state of the art” facility, during that time period.  As mentioned earlier, MSA needed much more space, in every segment of the business, not to mention, the new location was much more desirable for the employees, and more accessible for both the commercial and grower customers.

 

In 2006, the new facility was completed and MSA was now approaching $30 million in annual sales, with an employee base of 35 and growing, while continuing to look for new avenues to grow the business.

 

VIII. GETTING BACK to BASICS…

Due to continued growth of Mid-South Ag, Gary made the decision to sell Southeast Ag Equipment,  in a concerted effort to remain true to the original foundation of the company’s’ growth structure:  To focus  one hundred percent on the Mid-South Ag customer base, while devoting all investments back into the continuing growth of the company. Because we "got back to basics” and again turned our main focus to the mid-south customer base, within the first twelve months after selling Southeast Ag Equipment, MSA was able to offset the volume formally brought in by Southeast Ag Equipment, with a higher annual volume brought in solely by Mid-South Ag. .  By 2010, MSA had reached an employee base of almost fifty and growing; with an annual revenue approaching $40 million.

 

IX. CATERING to our NORTHERN MOST CUSTOMERS- a new store is established…

Continuing with our passion to focus specifically on the precise needs of our customers, in 2011, it was mutually decided that in order to be closer  to our northern most customer base in Kentucky, we needed a “bricks and mortars” store in that area.  A short time later, MSA opened a full sales and service facility in Owensboro, KY.  

 

Along with the new facility, MSA Owensboro also took on the Case Fertilizer contract, which consists of handling the full line of pull type applicators and three-point toolbars. Likewise, the Owensboro facility is situated in a key location to assist in gaining market share with our commercial application equipment customers, as the Owensboro location is much more accessible for our commercial clients. By June 2013, MSA has an employee base of 75 and growing, with a fiscal year-end revenue of $55 million.

 

X. BREAKING into a NEW MARKET- AN AVENUE FOR FUTURE GROWTH IS REALIZED IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA…

Early September, 2013 brought about the most drastic changes and challenges for MSA and its employees thus far, as MSA accepted an opportunity to increase its stability and grow its roots even deeper, by becoming a full-line Case IH dealer, via the acquisition of Stringer’s International. Accordingly, MSA now has locations in Byhalia, Tunica, Clarksdale and Sumner, MS, along with its facility in Owensboro, KY. The new growth in the Delta is mostly due, in part, to the hard work of Josh Reid (Gary Reid’s son), who was promoted to VP-Agricultural Business Unit at the time of the acquisition.  Likewise, Kent Shaw was promoted to VP-Application Business Unit, during the same time frame, while Gary Reid remains President. 

 

It is evident that MSA has definitely evolved from its humble beginnings, when a then 23 year old young man took a job managing the parts counter at a small Tyler distributor store, in Memphis, TN. However, because of that young man’s ambition, his love for the Ag Industry, along with the mentor and friend he found in Mr. Ivan Bowen so many years ago, he possessed the courage to embark on a journey filled with personal risks, hard-work, uncertainty, and much, much more.   Then again, it is because of those sacrifices that I am able to sit here today and write this brief history of Mid-South Ag Equipment, and the 27 year old man who made it a success, some thirty years ago.  

 

Currently, MSA has an employee base of 160 and counting…

 

-Amber N. Reid

Marketing Manager