By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
CAMP POINT, Ill. -- Jim and Bob Baucom learned a lot from their dad about how to run a successful trucking business.
"Dad's philosophy always was, you do the best job you possibly can for the most reasonable price you can and be honest with people," Jim Baucom said. "Bob and I try to keep that up. We believe in that. We intend to further the business with those guidelines."
The business principles make Baucom Truck Service stand out in the hauling business and to judges of the 14th annual Agribusiness of the Year Award.
The Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee presents the award each year to an area business that stresses community involvement and has strong ties to agriculture and progressive business practices.
"The Baucom family is a loyal and dedicated community-minded family that is synonymous with area trucking and agricultural industry. They have grown and adapted their business to stay in tune with agriculture and other industries they support," Mike Tenhouse, assistant professor of ag sciences at John Wood Community College's Ag Center near Perry, wrote in nominating Baucom Truck Service for the award.
Jim and Irene Baucom started the business in 1949 with an Army surplus truck equipped with a wooden spreader used to haul limestone out of Quincy to the surrounding area. He drove and serviced the trucks, while she answered the phone, took orders when he wasn't available and even delivered feed on occasion with five boys and two girls along for the ride.
An interest in trucking came naturally to father and sons.
"His dad was basically a farmer but got into the trucking business in the early 1940s. He helped his dad, liked it, ended up with a passion for it," said Jim Baucom, the couple's oldest son. "Grandpa ended up selling his trucks, and Dad went to work for some other local truckers."
The brothers worked for their dad in high school, joined the business full time in 1973, bought into the business in 1979 and have owned it outright since 2004. Another brother, Steve, drives full time for the business.
"Dad always said he had a lot of good people to help him build this. We can't say anything different," Jim Baucom said.
"We have very good customers, drivers, lease people. We have first-class people. If we didn't, we wouldn't even think about it," Bob Baucom said.
Four semi-trucks owned by the business, 27 other leased units and about 35 employees handle the demand that usually hits in full swing by April in an area covering parts of nine states.
"With three land lines and our cellphones, there's nothing to get 800 to 1,000 calls a day. Sometimes we don't get off the phone. It's a short window," Bob Baucom said. "Spring used to be a the tough time of year. Now it seems farmers are changing their programs. Our fall season is our spring season. If farmers get crops out, and the weather turns good, last year we had a record fall, so this year will be a manageable spring."
The Baucoms haul other commodities, including gravel, grain, sand and fertilizers. The company's biggest commitment is anhydrous ammonia. The business also includes Overdrive Sales and Service, a truck and trailer repair business, and tank and hazardous materials testing.
"Every year we define a successful years as one that was safe. If we make a little money at it, that's gravy," Jim Baucom said.
The Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee will honor Baucom Truck Service, the 2013 Agribusiness of the Year, and the Dave and Linda Duncan family, the 2013 Quincy Herald-Whig Farm Family of the Year, with a breakfast event Tuesday, March 12.
The annual ag breakfast begins at 7 a.m. at the Town and Country Inn and Suites, 110 N. 54th.
The featured speaker will be Colleen Callahan, Illinois State Director for U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development. The cost is $10 a person, with tables arranged for eight people.
Reservations are due Friday, March 8. Reservations and more information are available by calling the chamber office at 222-7980.
Past agribusiness winners were Mast Productions in Payson, Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic in Quincy, B&B Livestock Supply near Camp Point, Bunte Truck Service in Payson, Dearwester Grain Services Inc. in Golden, Selby Implement and Geo. Keller and Sons in Quincy, Lee Fertilizer in Camp Point, Quincy Farm and Home Supply, Farmers Livestock Sale Inc. in Coatsburg, Ursa Farmers Cooperative, Apple Basket Farms in Barry and Lewis Hybrids in Ursa.