May 13, 2019
The drivers who deliver propane or fuel to farms across the countryside are the face of the cooperative. As the ones responsible for powering all those operations, they often get a friendly wave when they head up the driveway. Mark Kimber has been on the receiving end of those waves for more than 40 years, hauling refined fuels and propane for Central Farm Service in Owatonna, Minn., to farms and rural businesses across southern Minnesota. Starting in 1978, Mark was one of only a few drivers for the co-op. Another driver was his brother Dale. The brothers got into the driver’s seat with encouragement from their father, Don, who drove for Central Farm Service for 43 years before retiring in 1991. “Our careers are thanks to the co-op and the customers who rely on the co-op to run their farms,” says Mark. “I’m proud to help the farmers of our community.” With careers that span decades, the Kimber men have served generations of farm families. “When I started, I’d work with the dads,” says Mark. “Now their kids run the family farm. You get to know the families and are proud of their success.” He says he continued a tradition started by his father, bringing Juicy Fruit gum for customers’ kids. “They’d call me ‘the gum man.’” Mark and Dale have just retired from their energy delivery careers and the Northfield native looks back on his time as a driver with pride. “For me, it was all about the relationship with farmers and families,” says Mark. “Building trust and growing those relationships was important to me. I got that from my dad.”
For more than 40 years, brothers Mark Kimber, far right, and Dale Kimber have been delivering energy products to Sorem Farms
This article was featured in the C Magazine, CHS, Inc. - Spring 2019. By Sarah Haugen
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“Another great mentor has been Dennis Inman, vice president of Grain at CFS and former location manager for Cargill in Pipestone, MN in the early ‘90s. I worked for Dennis early in my career, and he was a great communicator.