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Growers rely on partners like Six Lakes, Michigan-based Great Lakes Ag Irrigation Inc. to help them keep up with the ever-growing demand for food and natural resources.
Michigan has just under 10 million acres of farmland and is home to roughly 47,600 farms. Michigan farmers produce more than 300 agricultural products, making our state one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation.
Everyone benefits from products made by Michigan farm families who take pride in perfecting the art and science of growing fresh, high-quality foods and products, year after year – yet they can’t do it alone. Growers rely on partners like Six Lakes, Michigan-based Great Lakes Ag Irrigation Inc. to provide them with customized irrigation and water management solutions to help them keep up with the ever-growing demand for food and natural resources.
President and CEO, Clayton Irani, started Great Lakes Ag Irrigation Inc. in early January 2021. The company provides new irrigation and service to local farmers within a 100-mile radius of Six Lakes.
“We are a turnkey supplier that helps farmers - from start to finish - to develop acres with irrigation. Our industry leading products and services help conserve resources and increase yields for our customers. We aren’t just building irrigation systems, we’re expanding every field and every operation’s potential,” said Irani.
Faced with the challenges of competition in the industry, Irani knew that in irrigation, time is essential. “As an irrigation dealership, if you don’t have the parts you need to fix a farmer’s problem today, then they’ll go somewhere else.”
Irani was tasked with finding the working capital to purchase the inventory needed to set his business up for success. That is when he turned to Isabella Bank and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s Capital Access Program.
“Clayton and his team at Great Lakes Ag Irrigation bring a breadth of industry experience and knowledge with them in this new venture. We were confident in their business plan and their ability to execute the goals they have set for themselves,” said Tom Gross, vice president and business development officer at Isabella Bank. “By partnering with MEDC and using the Capital Access Program we were able to provide an operating line of credit to help them meet their working capital needs as they grow their new business.”
The Capital Access Program helps small businesses receive loans by reducing risk for lenders so they can provide customers with the financing they need. Thanks to the Capital Access Program, Irani was able to secure a $100,000 operating line of credit for his business.
Great Lakes Ag Irrigation has plans to grow 20 percent annually and is on track to reach their goals for this year. The company started in January 2021 with three employees and has since acquired one more. Over the next 10 years, their goal is to create at least 10 jobs from new business growth.
“Great Lakes Ag Irrigation has set out to do irrigation better than our competitors by having more of a lean spirit and an attention to customer service. We measure our success based on our return customers. We have no interest in focusing on the one and done sale, we want to take good care of our customers so they will come back. These return customers are the best new business you could ask for,” said Irani.
To learn more about how businesses can access resources and support through the MEDC’s Capital Access program, go to michiganbusiness.org/access-capital.