Wadena, Minnesota — In 2010, Randy Becker decided to leverage his trucking background and add it to his newly established farming business.

When buying a truck, he found a 1985 Mack Superliner.

“It had been sitting in a shed for nearly 15 years when we purchased it,” said Randy Becker.

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The 1985 Mack Superliner sat in warehouses for about 15 years before becoming Becker Transport’s first truck in 2010.

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There were no cab seats, no windshield glass, no lights. But he was able to drive it.

He bought it for just over $7,000, painted it from white to red, and “had the pleasure of putting the puzzle together.”

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A 1985 Mack Superliner before being painted red for Becker Transport.

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Twelve years later, Becker’s ’85 Mack is still racking up miles, and Becker Transport has grown into a regional trucking company, moving loads of farm and construction equipment, gravel, and grain from its home in the North Midwest. It’s shipping to the North Midwest.・Central Minnesota.

Becker Transport is now Randy’s wife Jodi’s full-time job. Jodi handles clerical matters such as scheduling, permitting, insurance and payroll.

Randy and Jody Becker own Becker Transport and a farm near Wadena, Minnesota.

Jeff Beach / Agweek

Today, the company has approximately 12 employees, most of whom are full-time, but with part-time and seasonal support, salaries have increased significantly.

The company owns up to seven trucks, all but one purchased second-hand, equipped with dozers and backhoes for soil working and digging, and road graders for driving on town roads. It is working and also has its own gravel pit.

But it’s the ’85 Mac that’s still running.

“I’m pretty much the only one driving it. It’s the oldest in the fleet,” said Becker. “I’m partial to it.”

Becker Transport regularly makes hauls to Dakota, Iowa and even east to Illinois, sometimes moving farm equipment for dealers. Drivers are usually home every night, but the work isn’t done until the truck is washed.

Beckers uses high school and college students to wash trucks so that drivers can get home. Becker’s daughter, Lauren, who is 14 years old, is currently on a truck wash duty. His son Luke, 8, helps polish the track.

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Randy Becker walks through the store on his farm in Wadena, Minnesota. Two of his seven trucks are stored there.

Jeff Beach / Agweek

Randy says part of the original motivation for buying the semi-tractor was to haul his own grain. In 2010, the Becker family moved from their farm in Wright County, west of the Twin Cities, to Wadena County. For a time they farmed in both locations about 125 miles apart. And Randy was still doing hauls for other companies in the Twin Cities area.

However, 2010 was also the year when a tornado hit Wadenamachi. Among the damage was a fertilizer factory. As part of the cleanup, Becker Transport was hired to haul fertilizer between Wadena and another fertilizer plant in nearby New York Mills.

“It was to get started,” said Randy Becker, hauling loads several times a day.

When the manure haul ended in 2011, he got his first call from another farmer, Larry Luck of Byrndale.

“We still carry his grain to this day,” Randy Becker said, adding that he hasn’t changed his rack rates for helping the business get back on track. .

“Building a customer base takes time,” said Jody Becker, who grew up in the Wadena area.

Rach, now 75, calls himself a smallholder farmer and appreciates Becker Transport’s continued hauling of operations he feels are too small to handle.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll always take your stuff to town,'” Rach said of Randy. And Rach couldn’t have done it any other way.

“He keeps his truck in perfect condition. It looks so nice and I’m proud to have him bring my stuff into town,” said Rach.

Randy comes from a family of Wright County farmers who have been transporting milk for decades. However, as the milk industry declined, he started driving trucks in the construction industry at the age of 18.

He says he modeled it on the business that Dale and Marlene Scherber ran. The family ran a dairy farm and had seven trucks hauling sand and gravel.

“When you worked for them, they treated you like one big family,” said Randy.

“You weren’t just a number,” Jody added.

“So it felt like I was working for a family-run company,” said Randy.

“At the end of the day, I think smaller is better. You’re building more personal relationships with those who work with you and their families.”

Beckers has no interest in dairy farming, but owns about 900 acres of farmland. And instead of starting a business on the edge of a burgeoning metropolitan area, Beckers was starting a business in a very rural area. Wadena County has a population of approximately 14,000.

Randy Becker said he still has the attitude that he can’t turn down a job.

Another motivation for starting his own trucking business, Randy says, was based on the advice of a financial advisor who saw farmers struggling during the agricultural crisis of the 1980s.

“He said, ‘Diversification is the name of the game,'” Randy said. This means that grain hauling is actually a small part of their business now, rather than just agricultural trucking.

He says he has 11 types of trailers, but one goal is to add and update trailer vehicles to provide more hauling options to continue trucking.

“The willingness to get up and do it every day, it’s not hard at all. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not a job,” Randy said. I don’t mean to, but I’ve never seen that happen.”

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