NORTH MANKATO —
That certainty of the future is important, he said, as the company recruits employees and managers. “If you have someone in their 40s thinking about coming on board, they don’t want to wonder what’s going to happen to the company if something happens to me.”
The farmer within
This fall, Taylor and his wife, Becky Mulvihill, went to Iowa, crawled into a massive John Deere combine and harvested corn for three long days.
“I have a soft spot for farming. Our land in Iowa and Minnesota had good crops this year.”
Several years ago Taylor expanded his business interests into agriculture in a big way. He owns several thousand acres of land in Minnesota and Iowa, owns chicken operations, mostly in Iowa, that produce 12 million eggs per day, and more recently bought hog operations in southern Minnesota.
He operates some of his farmland in partnership with other farmers and his son oversees the farming of 7,000 acres of land they farm in Iowa.
Taylor, who grew up on a farm near Comfrey, said the egg business continues to grow and change.
Rather than sell eggs in the shell for grocery stores, the operations ship out tanker trucks full of liquid eggs, egg whites or yolks for a variety of uses by food customers.
“Sales are up every year. Bigger and more sophisticated companies are becoming customers — customers from Europe and Asia.
The company also is working on cage-free chicken operations.
“Customers want it but it’s more expensive,” he said of the move toward cage-free.
The Minnesota hog operations raise 30,000 hogs at a time. The hog industry has hit a recent tough patch due to high feed costs, he said, but the businesses are doing well.
Helping people to hear
In 2006, Taylor bought 15 percent of an emerging but cash-strapped Minnesota company called Envoy Medical Corp. He and other investors have since poured millions into developing and now marketing an implantable device to help people with moderate to severe hearing loss.