Company History: After 30 years of traveling and selling products for major manufacturers in the animal health business, Alan McMurtrey took himself off the road, went into partnership with a local veterinarian and the two began providing those same products — and his expertise — to area livestock producers. For the past 10 years, Mac’s Veterinarian Supply has occupied the same building on Front Street in Monett, catering to local farmers and gradually building a customer base throughout the four-state area. Customers can drop by the store, but the company also delivers locally and ships orders via a parcel service to operations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. In April, Mac’s will open a second location at Springfield Livestock Center.
Products and Services: Mac’s offers a complete line of animal health products — vaccines, de-wormers, insecticides — primarily for beef and dairy cattle, swine and horses. And their goal is to have in stock what their customers need, and get it to them when they need it.
“The main service we do is get products to our customers in a timely manner and have inventory on hand to take care of their needs when they arise,” Alan said.
The company also will help producers develop a vaccination program that is best for their herds by providing information on products, helping evaluate health needs and considering how various products might meet those needs. Advice also may include what a producer doesn’t need. While “you could add a million bells and whistles” to a herd health program, Alan said, it is important in tough economic times like these to keep production costs down yet maintain animal health.
Best advice to cattle producers: “My advice would be to look at outgoing expenses, prioritize those expenses and run as tight a ship as they can during these times,” Alan said. That includes not skimping on basic health care and preventative measures — but most producers already are aware that such skimping can cost them in the long run, Alan said, because healthy animals are more efficient animals. “It’s typical in an economic downturn that more money is spent on animal health because producers want to make sure their animals gain as efficiently as possible at the least cost — and the way to do that is with healthy animals,” Alan said. "You should always remember the old saying: ‘Penny wise and pound foolish,’” he said.
Right now, smart producers will continue strong vaccination schedules and de-worm sooner and more often. In addition, they will make good use of insecticides as the weather warms because keeping flies off animals will increase gain rates, Alan said.
“Two hundred horn flies on an animal will decrease gain by a quarter of a pound a day,” he said.
Outlook on the future of agriculture: “I feel optimistic about the future of our business,” Alan said. “We can make it through these tough times. As President Obama said, in these times of 'severe ecomomic catastrophe,' I’m optimistic — I’m opening up another location.”
Business philosophy: “Our business philosophy is to provide our customers with the right product at the right price and have it to him on a timely basis,” Alan said. “The main thing I look at is customer service. I want to give people the kind of service I want given to me.
“We specialize in giving the lowest price possible on our products and the best service,” he continued. “We try to keep costs down for producers —that’s why we started the business originally.
“Of course, I look at making a fair profit,” he said, “but if my price is higher than someone else’s, I’m trying to make too much money or I’m not buying efficiently.”
By Charlie Meeks