When Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Hewlett Packard were all working on developing the first personal computers, Dave Junge was earning his degree in engineering and perfecting the use of the slide rule. Having been raised on a family farm near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Junge wanted to find ways to automate processes on the farm to improve production efficiencies. He realized that computers would be the wave of the future and would transform the way traditional farming and ag retailing was done.

After working for a company that made fertilizer blending equipment for two years, in 1979, Junge and his wife, Mary, opened their own business. Dave's dream was to fully automate and computerize a fertilizer facility. He got his wish when Ron Stutsman hired him in Hills, Iowa, to upgrade his facility. That was the beginning of Junge Control Inc., and 2009 marks the company's 30th anniversary.

"I realized early that the industry was going to need to automate as computers became more accessible," said Junge, president, Junge Control, Cedar Rapids. "But I saw the need for the data and the traceability for fertilizer, chemicals and seed in the agricultural food industry and wanted to create solutions for the farming community."

Junge described how far the technology has come since the 1970s. A team originally took a month to build a control panel, but today, one technician can build a panel that accomplishes more in just a few hours. That experience is what gives Junge a different perspective on the industry than most. In addition to running Junge Control, he also farms 640 acres. He considers himself a hobby farmer, he prides himself on the knowledge he gained from his farmer father, who won multiple corn yield contests back in the 1970s with yields between 130 and 150 bushels per acre.

"My goal in my lifetime is to double the yield on that same piece of land that my father earned 130 bushels on using the technology that we have," he said.

Using the expertise he gained from working on a farm and in the industry, products were developed under six categories: aerial, ag input, fuel, feed, seed and chemical.

In 1984, the Junge Chem Way System was invented and changed the way the industry measured bulk chemicals. This system accurately measures liquids by weight, compensating for changing product density. By utilizing a single scale system, as many as 25 products can be sequentially dispensed with precision. Some of the new products that have been introduced over recent years are: NH3 Express Loader, Departure Link-Aerial Automated Blending System, Fuel Manager, Bio Blender, Junge Injector, multiple range scales, Round the Clock Assistant and portable blending systems. Junge's automated products eliminate employee guesswork, transfers data to accounting and have traceability features.

One of the unique aspects of Junge Control is that nearly half of the 20 employees that work for Junge have been customers before being hired.

"Mary and I were not sure at first if we wanted to work with our friends or customers, but we found out that it was a great fit because we thought a lot alike on many issues," Junge said. "They have the same ag values that we do, and they understand the agriculture culture and demands."

Understanding how agriculture works has set this company apart as well because their employees know what kind of stress their customers are under.

"No other company has the perspective that we do," Junge said. "Our employees know what to do to help that customer even after normal business hours. We're always going to be there for our customers. We're always thinking ahead for new products, new ways to improve efficiencies of the ag industry, because we have to feed the world and do it in a way that is traceable and identifiable. That's our expertise."