LITCHFIELD–After 52 years in central Nebraska, longtime family-owned Litchfield business V.C. Howard Hay Company is passing the torch to another family operation–one out of Minnesota–Bakko Bros., Inc.
V.C. Howard Hay Company began in 1967 and was recently purchased by Bakkos Bros., Inc. Bakko purchased the land and assets, changed the name to Howard Hay Company, and will now continue businesses as usual following the transition in ownership.
V.C. Howard Hay Company specializes in custom hay grinding, hauling, truck repair, among other services and was a customer of Bakkos for the last several years and both are backed by strong family tradition.
Victor Clifford Howard began his hay grinding business in the 1960s and he and wife Dorothy welcomed sons Brad and wife Michele and Brent and late wife Ronda to the business in the late 1970s.
Brad and Michele Howard now have retirement on the mind after 40 years and plan to spend more time with grandchildren and travel. Before that can happen, it was imperative to Brad and Michele that their employees and their customers would be taken care of, both of which Brad feels they have found with Bakko Bros, which began in Glenwood, Minnesota in 2002.
“The employees, they mean everything to us. It’s a family.” Brad Howard said.
The Howards know there will be changes but are grateful for the continued service that will be provided to their customers.
“We are here for our ag producers, that’s what we’re all about and we hope it continues to grow and thrive and be very good for our community,” Michele Howard said.
Speaking of changes, Bakko Bros., Inc. is excited to expand and have a place in central Nebraska. Brothers Loren and Steve Bakko started repairing ag equipment in Glenwood, Minnesota and then grew their business and shop in 2002 to become a dealer and distributor for Haybusters, tub grinders, spreaders, Franklin and Jug Waterers, cattle chutes, and many other parts and equipment.
Along with Steve, Loren and Carmen Bakko have now welcomed their children into the business. Loren and Carmen have three daughters: Rachel who is an assistant manager along with husband Austin; Ashley who is a service manager; and Emily who is a senior in high school.
In an interview with KCNI/KBBN, Rachel, Austin, and Ashley said they are excited to be in central Nebraska, where many of their current customers reside. They will be continuing the services offered by Howard Hay Company but with the added touch of Bakko Bros., Inc.
Plans to expand the parts and grinder services are in the works and a current parts shop is located to the west of Litchfield on Highway 2. Bakko Bros. employs about 37 people in Minnesota and now 26 in Litchfield.
“It’s quite the community, “ Ashley said. “This is really a great community here I mean to be able to have a grocery store, and a post office, and a bank, and a cafe, and a school here in this town. It’s so rural and it’s just a really nice community. Everybody we’ve met here has been really nice,” Rachel continued.
“They’ve just welcomed us right in like they’ve known us for years almost,” Austin added.
Ashley Bakko told KCNI/KBBN that many customers are happy they have easier access to specialty parts now that Bakko Bros. is closer. She said her dad Loren hopes to eventually have the Litchfield and Glenwood locations doing the same services and parts/equipment sales.
The Bakko children thanked the community for welcoming them to town the last few months and hope to continue with some of the local support provided by Howard Hay Company.
“Watch for expansions in the future because we’re ready!” Ashley said. “We’re just really excited for people to know that we’re down here and we’re ready to get to work and help people out,” Rachel added.
Call the Litchfield shop number at 308-446-2526 or connect with Bakko Bros in Minnesota at 320-278-3560. (Phones will transfer to Litchfield and both locations have access to inventory, etc.)
Congratulations to Howard Hay Company on your years of service and welcome to town, Bakko Bros., Inc.!