A conversation with Roderick Gumz, co-owner of Gumz Farms.
Roderick Gumz has been raising potatoes, onions, carrots, mint, corn and soybeans in the muck soils of South Central Wisconsin, USA alongside brother Richard, for over 28 years. They are a valued customer since Volm’s early years. Manter machines are sold in the United States under the name Volmpack and is exclusively sold by Volm
Can you start by telling something more about your company?
“Gumz Farms is a 4th generation family farm,” says Gumz. At Gumz Farms, the locally-grown products come from the rich, organic muck soils of Wisconsin’s Marquette, Columbia, Sauk, and most recently Waushara counties. “We grow and pack onions and potatoes year round, grow carrots for process, grow and distill mint oil, grow corn and soybeans, and offer agronomic support to local grain farmers through our Pioneer Seed agency, Gumz Seed Service. We are proud of our commitment to quality and are thankful for our dedicated employees,” Gumz continues. Today, Gumz Farms is owned by brothers Richard and Roderick Gumz. Despite being a major producer in Wisconsin and the Midwest, Gumz Farms remains a family operation. “Over the years we’ve grown quite a bit,” Gumz says of both farm size and personnel. “We’ve acquired either bare ground or functioning farms, and today we have a total of 6,500 tillable acres.”
Can you tell us something about your first acquaintance with Volm?
“We have worked with Volm since the 1980s as a supplier of packaging materials and Lockwood dealer,” explains Gumz. The Gumz brothers completed an extensive remodel and expansion in 2012 to serve current and future demand in a safe and responsive manner. “Our first Volm weigher was purchased about ten years ago.”
What was the main reason for you to choose a Volm machine?
“Automation has become critical in our packing shed over the past decade or so and Volm helped us step in the right direction,” according to Gumz. Gumz Farms offers a wide selection of locally-grown, premium quality products. The automated Volmpack weighers use the latest technology to provide high-production speeds and highly accurate results with various models available. “Their service and design team have helped us to improve our packing processes,” Gumz says. Packaging options for retail include 1-, 2- and 3-pound bags, and the line can sticker individual onions. Gumz also does custom packing for private labels.
Which machine did you choose? And why?
“The first purchase was a Dual Wicket Bagger in 2007,” Gumz says. This is a packingmachine for prefabricated bags from the wicket. “Since then we bought several Volm weighers and three Volm roll stock balers,” continues Gumz. The weighers that Gumz purchased are the MD12 and MD16 D, both with dual discharge systems. These weighers are ideal for fast and accurate weighing. With the AutoMesh Baler Gumz is able to repack small bags into a larger roll stock netbag. “Volm has been great to work with. In 2012 the packing shed was updated with new equipment, which added to capacity and efficiency,” according to Gumz.
How happy are you with your Volm purchase?
“We are definitely happy; these machines have been reliable and easy to operate,” according to Gumz. He also mentions that altough the service needs have been limited, it was prompt when necessary. Some manufacturers sell only the commodity items they stock. Others are completely custom. Volm delivers the very best of both.
What do you like about Volm?
“The service and support from Volm was a major driver behind our choices and equipment purchases,” Gumz continues. Volm has assembled a team of expert designers and engineers that will customize the solutions that are right for the customers facility. They have factory-trained service personnel consistently helping customers saving money in the machinery operating costs.
How would you describe Volm to people who don’t know us yet?
“Volm is a very professional company and industry leader, as well as being very involved in the industry,” according to Gumz. Volm has been providing the produce industry with the latest generation packaging equipment and materials for over 60 years.
How do you see the future in terms of weighing and packaging?
“Investment in equipment and automation to reduce labor and to gain production is the goal; Volm helps to achieve that,” Gumz says. “There are lots of factors that go into producing and selling a crop. It’s up to us to be responsive and adapt to the changing environment.”
It’s with much appreciation that we say thank you and we wish the Gumz brothers and their families all the best!
Interview by Volm