For 32 years, area farmers and ranchers have made the journey to Golden City, Missouri, to drop off soil and forage samples, followed by a piece of pie at Cooky’s Café.
Big changes are coming, however, as new owners take over and move the business to its new location in Duenweg. Monty and Kathy Dade recently made the decision to retire and sold the business to Steve and Karie Currence.
“We are all fortunate to have a laboratory like this in the region,” Steve said, adding other investors had inquired about the business but were looking to move it out of southwest Missouri. “When we purchased it, part of my decision was to keep it local so we would have it regionally for the farmers and cattlemen here.”
Steve has been an active part of the agricultural and business community in the Joplin area for 30 years. Previously, he has owned a tractor dealership and sold storage tanks and silos worldwide. The Currences currently have a 90-acre farm and raise beef cattle.
Custom Laboratory will continue to offer testing on forages, silages, hays, grains, by-products, feed mixes, poultry litter, animal waste, soil and water.
“We test for everything from pretty basic proteins and moisture up to a full-blown test of all the minerals and elements in the feeds,” Steven explained.
The Currences have big plans for the laboratory. Aside from moving the lab closer to Joplin and growing the business overall, Steve said he hopes to add testing for E. coli, aflatoxins and mycotoxins to the lab in the future as well as updating the technologies used in the lab.
“I’ve spent the last three months listening to what people ask for and trying to figure out what we can add,” Steve said, adding customer service is a priority for his new endeavor.
They also hope to raise awareness on the benefits and economic feasibility of soil and forage testing.
“If you’re not soil testing, you’re probably not getting your soils up to the proper fertility level or you’re wasting a lot of money on fertilizer,” Steve said. The same goes for knowing what’s in forages and feeds when considering animal nutrition.
Custom Laboratory is certified by the National Forage Testing Association and the North American Proficiency Testing Association. “It’s a big deal for us to have those certifications,” Karie said, explaining some competing labs do not have those certifications.
The decision to move the lab came out of necessity. When the Currences purchased Custom Laboratory, the real estate was not included. They decided to move the lab to Duenweg due to its proximity to Interstates 44 and 49 as well as other agricultural businesses including local implement dealers, stockyards and agricultural lenders.
“There are people in the Lamar-Golden City area who are really going to miss having it close but I’ve got people south of I-44 who are very excited that it’s coming to Joplin,” Steve said. “It will take some getting used to but I believe it’s still an accessible location.
“We want to be a resource and a partner with people in this area.”
For more information on the lab, services offered or pricing, check out the new Custom Laboratory website at www.customaglabs.com or visit the new location at 7804 East Seventh St., Duenweg, MO 64841.