Seed & Farm continues to help farmers through all seasons

Seed & Farm Supply Inc., in Lamar, Mo., was opened in 1974 by Marty Bunton’s aunt and uncle Irene and Don Thomas. The supply store has not always been located where it is today but has always been a family ran business.

In 1971, Irene and Don began a small feed and seed business in Liberal, Mo. 

They sold the fescue processing plant portion of their business in 1974 to an outfit in California and moved to the north side of the street to begin Seed & Farm Supply, Inc.

The two ran the business together for several years until Don passed away in a plane crash in 1977 and Marty’s dad Donald Bunton helped his sister Irene keep the doors open until 1996 when he came home to farm full-time. Marty then bought his dad’s part of the business making him co-owner with his aunt. 

Marty grew up on the family farm and graduated from the University of Missouri in December of 1973 with a degree in ag mechanization, which was then part of the ag engineering program. After college, he began selling grain bins as part of Bunton Farms, Inc., in Irwin, Mo., as well as farming with his brothers and dad in Irwin. “I’ve been selling grain bins for over 49 years now,” Marty said. 

Seven and a half years ago, Marty bought his aunt’s share becoming full owner of Seed & Farm Supply.

In 2019, he came across an opportunity he could not turn down. Producers Co-Op bought the business location in Liberal, Mo., including the grain elevator, seed, feed, fertilizer, chemicals and the anhydrous part of the business. Marty then bought a place in Lamar along the highway and relocated where Seed and Farm Supply is currently located. The Co-op was not interested in purchasing the grain bin or livestock equipment portion, so it was perfect to continue on with it at Lamar. “We thought about changing the name, because it probably doesn’t fit what we do right now, but it has 40-plus years history with it and a whole lot of customers that know who we are under that name,” Marty said.

There are three generations currently working at the supply store, including Marty, his son Aaron Bunton, his daughter Wynne Dogotch and husband Aaron, and Marty’s grandson Drew Bunton.

The supply store came across a unique opportunity last year. 

“By being in Liberal, Mo., the prairie hay capital of the world back in the early 1900s, we always sold baling wire, then twine and net wrap. We negotiated with the co-op, so we were able to continue to sell it when we moved here to Lamar, and last year our supplier came up with a red, white and blue net wrap.” 

Wynne posted a picture online of hay bales with the specialty net wrap.

“It just exploded,” Mary said. “We shipped net wrap from North Dakota to Alabama, to Texas to New York.” 

Marty recalled the first grain bins he started selling were MFS. In 1976, Marty said they put a 15,000-bushel bin on their own farm, which was the biggest bin they had ever sold. Now they are selling 100,000-bushel bins all the time. 

“We sold our first half-million-bushel bin last year, a 90-footer that went up at Montrose, Mo. Even though we are located here in a small area, we also have a crew in Enid, Okla. We are covering 150-to-200-mile radius on the grain bins, Marty said.” 

They have a bin erection crew and offer installation and service as well. Along with MFS they also sell Sukup grain bins.

Russ Massa, who has been working with Marty for more than 25 years, specializes in livestock equipment and has been handling cattle since 1983. 

“It’s nothing to ship equipment 200 miles,” he said. “We probably have the largest hydraulic chute inventory in the Midwest.” 

Last year, Russ sold a buffalo-handling facility at Branson, Mo. 

Recently, they have also acquired the dealership for Westfield augers to sell along with their Farm King and Brandt augers. 

“We are going to be the place to come to buy an auger in Southwest Missouri,” Russ said.

Seed & Farm Supply offers a variety of agricultural products. They sell livestock handling equipment, including feed bunks, waterers, bale rings, portable corals, chutes, and freestanding cattle panels. They offer grain bins and assemble and fix augers. They sell rakes, mowers and bale trailers. They recently have taken on the portable building business to accommodate customer needs. 

“Seed & Farm Supply has always been service-oriented and community minded,” Marty said. “My aunt, one of the founders, was certainly a mover and shaker in Liberal and helped keep the community fabric together.” Russ added. “With Irene, you could meet people 200 miles from here and say you lived at Liberal, Mo., and they would say, We used to deal with a lady there by the name of Irene. “They did not know the name Seed & Farm, but they did business with Irene.” It is the same with Marty because his name is synonymous with service in agriculture. People did business with Irene because she was a ‘taking care of people person’ and that is instilled in Marty as well.

“I have been incredibly blessed the whole time I have been here. The employees are what has made the business successful,” Mary said. “When you go to meetings with other owners, often the biggest complaint is keeping and finding employees and I have never had that problem. Most of my employees are local and have been here an average of 20 years. That has been a huge blessing.”


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